Lung cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of lung cancer, 2013, UK

Deaths

Deaths from lung cancer, 2014, UK

Survival

Survive lung cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales

Prevention

Preventable cases of lung cancer, UK

  • There were around 45,500 new cases of lung cancer in the UK in 2013, that’s 120 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK (2013).
  • Lung cancer accounts for 13% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males in the UK, lung cancer is the second most common cancer, with around 24,500 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • In females in the UK, lung cancer is the second most common cancer, with around 21,000 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • Around 6 in 10 (61%) lung cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 70 and over (2011-2013).
  • Rates of lung cancer in Scotland are among the highest in the world, reflecting the history of high smoking prevalence there.
  • Since the late 1970s, lung cancer incidence rates have decreased by around a seventh (14%) in Great Britain, though this includes an increase in females (more than two-thirds, 69%) and a decrease in males (more than two-fifths, 44%). 
  • Over the last decade, lung cancer incidence rates have increased by around a twentieth (4%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (around a fifth, 19%) and a decrease in males (almost a tenth, 8%).
  • Lung cancer in England is more common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • Most lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
  • In Europe, more than 410,000 new cases of lung cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is seventh lowest in Europe for males and seventh highest for females.
  • Worldwide, nearly 1.83 million new cases of lung cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
  • 1 in 13 men and 1 in 17 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime.

Read more in-depth lung cancer incidence statistics

  • There were around 35,900 lung cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s 98 deaths every day.
  • Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2014).
  • Lung cancer accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
  • In males in the UK, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death, with around 19,600 deaths in 2014.
  • In females in the UK, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death, with around 16,300 deaths in 2014.
  • Almost half of people who die from lung cancer are aged 75 or over.
  • Lung cancer mortality rates for men in the UK have more than halved since the 1970s. For females, the mortality rate increased by 60% between the early 1970s and the late 1980s. Since then, rates have increased more slowly. These variations reflect past smoking behaviour.
  • Lung cancer deaths in England are more common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • In Europe, nearly 354,000 people were estimated to have died from lung cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 11th lowest in Europe for males and fifth highest for females.
  • Worldwide around 1.59 million people were estimated to have died from lung cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.

Read more in-depth lung cancer mortality statistics

  • 5 in 100 (5%) of people diagnosed with lung cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
  • A tenth (10%) of people diagnosed with lung cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
  • Around a third (32%) of people diagnosed with lung cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
  • Lung cancer survival is higher in women than men at one- and five-years but similar at ten-years (2010-2011).
  • Lung cancer survival in England is higher for people diagnosed aged under 40 years old (2009-2013).
  • Almost half of people in England diagnosed with lung cancer aged 15-39 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with more than 5 in 100 people diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).
  • Lung cancer survival has not shown much improvement in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • In the 1970s, less than 5 in 100 people diagnosed with lung cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's 5 in 100.
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than a third of people with lung cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around 5 in 100 of people when diagnosed at a later stage.

Read more in-depth lung cancer survival statistics

  • 89% (91% in males and 87% in females) of lung cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing lung cancer depends on many factors, including age,genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • Smoking is the main avoidable risk factor for lung cancer, linked to an estimated 86% of lung cancer cases in the UK.
  • An estimated 89% of lung cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including smoking, certain occupational exposures (13%), and ionising radiation (5%).
  • Environmental tobacco smoke, ionising radiation, air pollution, and diesel engine exhaust cause lung cancer.
  • A diet high in fruit and vegetables may protect against lung cancer – insufficient fruit and vegetables intake is linked to an estimated 9% of lung cancer cases in the UK.

Read more in-depth lung cancer risk factors

  • Emergency presentation is the most common route to diagnosis of lung cancer.
  • GP referral is the route with the highest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage, for lung cancer.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for lung cancer.
  • A tenth of lung cancer patients receive major surgical resection as part of their cancer treatment.
  • Around 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • 9 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

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The latest statistics available for lung cancer in the UK are; incidence 2013, mortality 2014 and survival 2010-2011 (all ages combined) and 2009-2013 (by age).

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for lung cancer are ICD-10 C33-C34 (which include the trachea, bronchus and lung).

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2012.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, please see our patient information.

Stage at diagnosis data is not yet routinely available for the UK due to inconsistencies in the collecting and recording of staging data in the past.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and often take study quality into account. Individual case-control Open a glossary item and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013. Staging proportions only include patients with a known stage (cases with an unknown stage at diagnosis are not included in the denominator).

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Lung cancer is part of the group 'Lung cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: trachea, bronchus and lung, thymus, heart, mediastinum and pleura, other and ill-defined sites of the respiratory system, mesothelioma, secondary cancers of the mediastinum, pleura or other and unspecified respiratory organs.

Cancer surgical resection rates data is for patients diagnosed in England between 2006 and 2010.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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