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 2017 are:
- About 222,500 new cases of lung cancer (116,990 in men and 105,510 in women)
- About 155,870 deaths from lung cancer (84,590 in men and 71,280 in women)
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women; about 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people. About 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, while less than 2% are 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 14; 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.
Last Medical Review: February 8, 2016 Last Revised: January 5, 2017