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Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women (not counting skin cancer). In men, prostate cancer is more common, while in women breast cancer is more common. About 14% of all new cancers are lung cancers.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2016 are:

  • About 224,390 new cases of lung cancer (117,920 in men and 106,470 in women)
  • About158,080 deaths from lung cancer (85,920 in men and 72,160 in women)

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women; about 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people. About 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, while less than 2% are younger than 45. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 70.

Lifetime chance of getting lung cancer

Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 14; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.

Black men are about 20% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men. The rate is about 10% lower in black women than in white women. Both black and white women have lower rates than men, but the gap is closing. The lung cancer rate has been dropping among men over the past few decades, but only for about the last decade in women.

Statistics on survival in people with lung cancer vary depending on the stage (extent) of the cancer when it is diagnosed. For survival statistics based on the stage of the cancer, see “Non-small cell lung cancer survival rates by stage.”

Despite the very serious prognosis (outlook) of lung cancer, some people with earlier stage cancers are cured. More than 430,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point.

Other cancers in increasing trend in the West:

The incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus has been increasing rapidly in Western countries, such as the United States, Australia, France, and England, in recent decades, most likely as a result of increases in overweight/obesity, chronic gastric reflux, and the premalignant condition Barrett’s esophagus.57 These increases may also be related to the declining prevalence of H. pylori infection, as H. pylori appears to be associated with a reduced risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Survival: Most people with esophageal cancer eventually die of the disease because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. In the United States, 18% of white patients and 12% of black patients survive (relative survival) at least five years after diagnosis.33 In Europe, the average five-year relative survival rate is 12%.

Connie’s notes: How can we detect cancer early?

My brother’s friend has adenocarcinoma and was detected late already when the pain in the hip and other areas in the body was dismissed and was not pursued to have a deeper origin. There was a skin disorder on the chest last month and now he has 3months to live with his tongue slowly deteriorating in movement and the hip pain unbearable. He is 64 yrs of age, over weight and on meat diet. His wife works as a nurse at Kaiser.  He is a scientist. His father died of Parkinson, 10 yrs ago, at 70 yrs of age. He lives in Northern California.