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Lung Cancer Research Highlights

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women
in the United States. Our research program has played a role in many of the prevention, screening, and treatment advances that save lives from lung cancer today. And, we continue to fund research to help save even more lives in the future. 

Survival After a Diagnosis of Lung Cancer Has Improved, Yet More People Die from Lung Cancer Than Any Other Type

Over the past 20 years, there have been exciting improvements in survival after a diagnosis of lung cancer. These are due to advances in the understanding of tumor biology, the development of targeted treatment, and the introduction of screening. However, we've known about the link between smoking and lung cancer for even longer, and smoking is still responsible for most deaths from lung cancer. 

Most E-cigarette Users Ages 18 to 29 Never Smoked Before

Researchers say about 2.7 million younger adults with no history of cigarette smoking used e-cigarettes in 2021.

The ACS Tobacco Control Research Team Helps Put Evidence Into Action Via Policies

We study factors in the United States that predict what leads adults and adolescents to start and stop using any one of the many conventional or novel tobacco products. We track the use of cigarettes, cigars, and snuff along with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), hookahs, and nicotine pouches. We also evaluate the value of tobacco control laws and rules—how effective they are in reducing the use of tobacco products in the US."

Nigar Nargis, PhD

Senior Scientific Director, Tobacco Control Research

American Cancer Society

Statistics on Lung Cancer Risk and Prevention


increase in risk for developing lung cancer if your parent or child is diagnosed with it


increase in risk for developing lung cancer if your sibling is diagnosed with it


average number of attempts it takes
to quit smoking
for good

Quit2Heal is a research study comparing 2 smartphone apps for cancer patients quitting smoking. 

If you smoke and have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 24 months, you may be eligible to participate in a research study that will test a smartphone app to help you quit smoking.

New Lung Cancer Screening Guideline Increases Eligibility

The new lung cancer screening guideline, published in the ACS flagship journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, recommends that primary care or specialty care providers refer 50 to 80-year-olds for yearly screening with LDCT if they currently smoke or used to smoke, have a 20-pack-year or more smoking history, and are in reasonably good health, without any symptoms of lung cancer. 

How does the new guideline differ from the previously published guideline?

Lung Cancer Statistics on Racial Disparities 


American Indian & Alaska Native (AIAN) populations:

Racial/ethnic group most likely to smoke


higher incidence of lung cancer for
AIAN populations in
the Northern Plains
the Southwest

We Fund Cancer Researchers Across the US

The American Cancer Society funds scientists who conduct research about cancer at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the United States. We use a rigorous and independent peer review process to select the most innovative research projects proposals to fund. 

Stats on the left are as of Aug. 1, 2023.


lung cancer ACS grants


ACS funding for lung cancer research