Lung Cancer Prevalence and Incidence

Prevalence is the number of people living with a disease, and incidence is the number of new cases over a time period. This page includes lung cancer prevalence by years since diagnosis and cancer site, and lung cancer incidence rates by gender, year, race/ethnicity, and state.

Prevalence

  • In 2017, 558,250 people were alive who had ever been diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • Most (55%) were diagnosed in the last 5 years.
  • Despite accounting for 13% of new cases, lung cancer only accounts for 3% of patients ever diagnosed with cancer due to its low survival rate compared to other leading cancers.

Gender Differences

  • In 2016, 218,229 people were diagnosed with lung cancer; 113,044 were men, and 105,185 were women.
  • In 2017, men (55.4 per 100,000 population) were 23% more likely than women (45.1 per 100,000 population) to be diagnosed with lung cancer.

Gender Trends

  • The rate of new cases (incidence) increased 14% among men from 1975 until peaking in 1984, and has since decreased 46%.
  • The rate of new cases increased 120% among women from 1975 until peaking in 1998, and has since decreased 16%.
  • Over the last 10 years, rates have decreased by 23% for men and 13% for women.
  • Over the last 5 years, rates have decreased by 10% for men and 7% for women.

Lung Cancer Age-Adjusted Incidence Rates1 by Site, Race and Sex, 1975-2017

Gender and Race/Ethnicity

  • The rate of new cases (incidence) was greater among men than women for all racial and ethnic groups.
  • Rates in 2013-2017 were highest among black men (71.2 per 100,000 population) followed by white men (62.2 per 100,000 population), a 14% difference.
  • Rates were lower among male Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and lowest among male Hispanics.
  • Rates in 2013-2017 were highest among white women (51.5 per 100,000 population) followed by black women (43.8 per 100,000 population), an 18% difference.
  • Rates were lower among female American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and lowest among female Hispanics.

Incidence Rates by Sex and Race/Ethnicity, 2013-2017

Non-Hispanic
Sex Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic
Males 61.7 62.2 71.2 46.2 43.5 35.1
Females 48.6 51.5 43.8 28.6 34.3 24.8
Total 54.2 56.0 54.8 36.2 38.1 29.0

Sources:
National Cancer Institute. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2017.

  • (1) Rates are per 100,000 age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. Incidence rates obtained from 18 SEER areas.

State

  • The rate of new cases (incidence) among men in 2016 ranged from a low of 29.6 per 100,000 population in Utah to 103.8 per 100,000 population in Kentucky.
  • The rate of new cases (incidence) among women in 2016 ranged from a low of 21.3 per 100,000 population in Utah to 73.8 per 100,000 population in Kentucky.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. HCUPnet, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, 1993-2017. Analysis by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit.
  • Alberg AJ & Samet J. Epidemiology of Lung Cancer. Chest, January 2003; 123:21S-49S.
  • American College of Radiology. Lung Cancer Screening Registry State Level Comparison, 2014-2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, 2013-2019. Analysis by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit using SPSS software.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey, 2015. Analysis performed by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit using SPSS software.
  • Tsao AS, et al. Scientific Advances in Lung Cancer 2015. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2016; 11(5):613-38.
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Trends Progress Report – Financial Burden of Cancer Care. March, 2020.
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2017.
  • Wingo PA et al. Long-Term Trends in Cancer Mortality in the United States, 1930 –1998. Cancer, 2003; 97(11 Suppl):3133-275.
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