Survival

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

These are general statistics based on large groups of people. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case. 

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage

No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of lung cancer or individual treatments. These figures are for survival by stage in England for people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017.

Stage 1

More than 55 out of 100 people (more than 55%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 2

Around 35 out of 100 people (around 35%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Stage 3

Almost 15 out of 100 people (almost 15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Stage 4

Almost 5 out of 100 people (almost 5%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. 

Survival for all stages of lung cancer

Generally for people with lung cancer in England:

  • around 40 out of every 100 people (around 40%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • around 15 out of every 100 people (around 15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • 10 out of every 100 people (10%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the type of lung cancer that you have and also the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

Your general health and fitness might also affect survival. Doctors call this your performance status. A score of 0 means you are completely able to look after yourself. A score of 1 means you can do most things for yourself but need some help. The scores continue to go up, depending on how much help you need. People with a higher score may have a poorer outlook.

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

For more in-depth information about survival and lung cancer

Last reviewed: 
23 Sep 2020
Next review due: 
22 Sep 2023
  • Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
    Office for National Statistics