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.
LUNG CANCER MORTALITY RATE
Lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer, and almost twice as as many men as prostate cancer every year.
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.
RATE INCREASE IN WOMEN
During the past 40 years, the lung cancer death rate has fallen 17% among men while increasing 94% among women. Lung cancer incidence has been declining since the mid-1980s in men, but only since the mid-2000s in women because of gender differences in historical patterns of smoking uptake and cessation.
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 131,880 lung cancer deaths are expected to occur in 2021 in the United States, accounting for about 18% of all cancer deaths nationwide.
LACK OF FEDERAL FUNDING
Sadly, federal funding for lung cancer research per related death was just $3,116 compared to $15,917 for breast cancer, $7,500 for prostate cancer, and $5,398 for colorectal cancer in 2021.
LOWEST SURVIVAL RATE
With a 22% five-year survival rate, lung cancer ranks the lowest among the other most common cancers: prostate cancer (97.5%), breast cancer (90.3%), and colorectal cancer (65%).
DEATHS PER DAY
Lung cancer kills 361 people each day in the U.S. — that’s enough to fill an Airbus A340-500 airliner.
DEATH RATE PER MINUTE
Every 4 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 235,760 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021. That’s 646 people each day, 27 people each hour, and one person every 2 minutes.
60% – 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.
POLLUTION & LUNG CANCER
An estimated 14% 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 nearly 60%.
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
$23.8 billion was spent on lung cancer care in 2020.
END OF LIFE CARE
In 2020, more than $110,000 per patient with lung cancer was spent in the last year of life.
The $39 billion in lost productivity due to lung cancer deaths was more than the next 4 costliest cancers combined.
Lung Cancer Funding Facts
An estimated 131,880 lung cancer deaths are expected to occur in 2021 in the United States, accounting for about 27% of all cancer deaths nationwide. However, federal funding for lung cancer research per death was just $3,116 compared to $15,917 for breast, $7,500 for prostate and $5,398 for colon. Not surprisingly, lung cancer has the lowest 5-year survival rate of the other most common cancers: only 22%, versus prostate at 97.5%; breast at 90.3%; and colorectal at 65%.
2019 Facts and Statistics Sources:
- SEER Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) 1975-2015 https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/
- 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.
- U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2014.