29 Lung Cancer Facts You Should Know
Here are 29 facts about lung cancer that everyone should be aware of – after all, we all have lungs. And, lung cancer accounts for more deaths every year than any other cancer and more than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. Stay informed! Read each section for more lung cancer facts, information, and statistics.
LIFETIME DIAGNOSIS RATE
Currently, 1 in 15 people in the U.S. can expect to receive a lung cancer diagnosis. That’s 1 out of every 14 men, and 1 out of every 17 women.
LUNG CANCER MORTALITY RATE
Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer, and more than three times as many men as prostate cancer.
NO. 1 LADY KILLER
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among women in the U.S. — it surpassed breast cancer in 1987.
Fewer than 1 in 7 lung cancer patients will be diagnosed in the earliest stage, when the disease is most treatable.
TYPES OF LUNG CANCER
There isn’t just one lung cancer – every lung cancer is unique. Lung cancer is a group of diseases defined by the genetic makeup of the lung cancer tumors.
RATE INCREASE IN WOMEN
During the past 39 years, the lung cancer death rate has fallen 29% among men while increasing 102% among women.
There is currently no cure for lung cancer, however new research is making it possible for people to live with their lung cancer, managing it like a chronic disease. You can be a part of this progress by supporting research.
An estimated 142,670 lung cancer deaths are expected to occur in 2019 in the United States, accounting for about 27% of all cancer deaths nationwide.
LACK OF FEDERAL FUNDING
Sadly, federal funding for lung cancer research per related death was just $2,634 compared to $13,715 for breast cancer, $6,008 for prostate cancer, and $5,123 for colorectal cancer in 2021.
LOWEST SURVIVAL RATE
With a 19% five-year survival rate, lung cancer ranks the lowest among the other most common cancers: prostate cancer (99%), breast cancer (89%), and colorectal cancer (65%).
DEATHS PER DAY
Lung cancer kills 433 people each day in the U.S. — that’s the same number of seats on a Boeing 747 airplane.
DEATH RATE PER MINUTE
Every 3.3 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies of lung cancer.
WOMEN’S DEATH RATE SNAPSHOT
It’s estimated that more than 62,000 American women will die of lung cancer in 2021 — that’s 170 women each day, or 7 per hour (or one death every 8.6 minutes).
DIAGNOSIS RATE PER MINUTE
An estimated 224,390 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019. That’s 615 people each day, 26 people each hour, and one person every 2½ minutes.
65% of new lung cancer cases are in former smokers and those who have never smoked.
Smoking is still a high-risk factor for lung cancer. There were an average of 130,659 lung cancer deaths due to smoking each year between 2005 and 2010; every year, approximately 7,330 lung cancer deaths are due to secondhand smoke exposure.
RADON IS A REAL RISK
Radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer death.
POLLUTION & LUNG CANCER
An estimated 23% of lung cancer deaths worldwide are caused by indoor or outdoor air pollution.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS SURVIVAL RATE
If lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving 5 years or more improves to 55%.
EARLY DETECTION MORTALITY RATE
Early detection through low-dose CT screening can decrease lung cancer mortality rates by 14%-20% among high-risk populations.
SURVIVAL RATE FOR WOMEN
Half of the women who are diagnosed with lung cancer (50.1%) will survive just one year. Only one in 5 of those women who are diagnosed with lung cancer (22%) will survive to 5 years.
CANCER RISK COMPARISON
Among women, the lifetime risk of dying from lung cancer is 82% greater than the risk of dying from breast cancer (the second leading cancer killer of women).
MEN & LUNG CANCER
Lung cancer is more common in men than women, particularly African American men. The chance of getting lung cancer increases with age, and, of course, with a smoking history.
Employees who smoke cost their employer nearly $6,000 more each year compared to non-smoking employees.
LUNG CANCER CARE
$13.4 billion was spent on lung cancer care in 2015.
END OF LIFE CARE
More was spent on care in the last year of life ($5.5 billion) for lung cancer than any other cancer in 2015.
The $39 billion in lost productivity due to lung cancer deaths was more than the next 4 costliest cancers combined.
2019 Facts and Statistics Sources:
1. SEER Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) 1975-2015 https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2014 Series 20 No. 2T, 2016.
5. U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2014.