Key Statistics for Lung Cancer

Most lung cancer statistics include both small cell and non-small cell lung cancers.

How common is lung cancer?

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women (not counting skin cancer). In men, prostate cancer is more common, while in women breast cancer is more common. About 14% of all new cancers are lung cancers.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2018 are:

  • About 234,030 new cases of lung cancer (121,680 in men and 112,350 in women)
  • About 154,050 deaths from lung cancer (83,550 in men and 70,500 in women)

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people. Mostpeople diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, while a very small number of people diagnosed younger than 45. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 70.

Lifetime chance of getting lung cancer

Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 15; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.

Black men are about 20% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men. The rate is about 10% lower in black women than in white women. Both black and white women have lower rates than men, but the gap is closing. The lung cancer rate has been dropping among men over the past few decades, but only for about the last decade in women.

Statistics on survival in people with lung cancer vary depending on the stage (extent) of the cancer when it is diagnosed. For survival statistics based on the stage of the cancer, see Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Survival Rates By Stage.

Despite the very serious prognosis (outlook) of lung cancer, some people with earlier stage cancers are cured. More than 430,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Facts & Figures 2018. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2018.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.

 Cancer Stat Facts: Lung and bronchus cancer, 2010-2014.  National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.  https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lungb.html. Accessed on January 5, 2018.

Last Medical Review: February 8, 2016 Last Revised: January 4, 2018

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