Lung Cancer Statistics

Anyone can get lung cancer

  • One in 16 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.1
  • More than 234,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, with a new diagnosis every 2.2 minutes.1
  • 60% to 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.1,2,3,4,5,6
  • 10% to 15% of new lung cancer cases are among never-smokers.1,2,3,4,5,6

We need to get better at finding and treating lung cancer

  • Lung cancer accounts for 13% of all new cancer diagnoses but 25% of all cancer deaths.1
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, regardless of gender or ethnicity, taking almost 155,000 American lives each year.1
  • More lives are lost to lung cancer than to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined.1
  • Lung cancer has been the leading cancer killer of women since 1987, killing almost twice as many women as breast cancer.7
  • Only 19% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically.1

Lung cancer research needs investment that matches the impact of the disease

  • Only 6% of federal government dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer research.8

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Lung cancer facts infographic, part 1Lung cancer facts infographic, part 2


  1.  Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bresi A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER website, April 2018.
  2.  Burns, DM. Primary prevention, smoking, and smoking cessation: Implications for future trends in lung cancer prevention. Cancer, 2000; 89:2506-2509.
  3.  Thun, MJ, et al. Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies. PLOS Medicine, 2008: 5(9):e185. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050185.
  4.  Satcher D, Thompson TG, Kaplan, JP. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Nicotine Tob Res, 2002; 4(1): 7-20.
  5.  Park ER, et al. A snapshot of smokers after lung and colorectal cancer diagnosis. Cancer, 2012; 12: 3153-3164. doi: 1002/cncr.26545. Accessed April 19, 2018. 
  6. Lung Cancer Facts. Free to Breathe website. Updated May 2017. Accessed April 18, 2018.
  7. 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.
  8. Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC). National Institutes of Health website. Table Published:July 3, 2017. Accessed April 18, 2018.