Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with NSCLC each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses.

Statistics provided below for lung cancer include both small cell and NSCLC. This year, an estimated 234,030 adults (121,680 men and 112,350 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer makes up about 14% of all new cancer diagnoses. Black men are about 20% more likely to get lung cancer than white men. Black women are 10% less likely to get cancer when compared with white women.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. It is estimated that 154,050 (83,550 men and 70,500 women) deaths from this disease will occur this year.

Due to a decrease in smoking, death rates have declined by 45% since 1990 in men and 19% in women since 2002.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for all people with all types of lung cancer is 18%. The 5-year survival rate for men is 15%. The 5-year survival rate for women is 21%.

However, it is important to note that survival rates depend on several factors, including the subtype of lung cancer, and the stage of disease.

For people with stage IA1 NSCLC, the 5-year survival rate is about 92%. For stage IA2, the rate is about 83%, and for stage IA3 it is 77%. The survival rate for people with stage 1B is about 68%. It is 60% for stage IIA cancer, and 53% for stage IIB cancer. For stage IIIA NSCLC, the 5-year survival rate is about 36%, and about 26% and 13% for stage IIIB and stage IIIC, respectively. When NSCLC has spread outside of the lungs, it can be difficult to treat successfully. The 5-year survival rate for stage IV NSCLC is around 1%.

Each year, tens of thousands of people are cured of NSCLC in the United States. And, some patients with advanced lung cancer can live many years after diagnosis. Sometimes patients who are told that their lung cancer is incurable live longer than many who are told that their lung cancer is curable. The important thing to remember is that lung cancer is treatable at any stage, and these treatments have been proven to help people with lung cancer live longer with better quality of life.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with NSCLC are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. It is not an estimate of how long a person is likely to live with cancer. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatments that have become widely available in the past 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, and the ACS website.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by NSCLC. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.