June 24, 2017

Lung Cancer

How common is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women throughout the world. Statistics from the American Cancer Society estimated that in 2016 about 224,000 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. occurred and over 158,000 deaths were due to the disease. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, approximately 6.5% of men and women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer of the lung at some point in their lifetime based on data from 2011-13.

Lung cancer is predominantly a disease of the elderly; almost 70% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65 years of age, while less than 3% of lung cancers occur in people under 45 years of age. The median age at diagnosis is 70 years.

Lung cancer was not common prior to the 1930s but increased dramatically over the following decades as tobacco smoking increased. In many developing countries, the incidence of lung cancer is beginning to fall following public education about the dangers of cigarette smoking and the introduction of effective smoking-cessation programs. Nevertheless, lung cancer remains among the most common types of cancers in both men and women worldwide. In the U.S., lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

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Reviewed on 12/2/2016
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