Health by the Numbers: Lung Cancer

The bad news is that lung cancer causes more deaths than any other type of cancer. The good news is that tobacco causes most lung cancers, making it also the most preventable type of cancer. In fact, 90 percent of lung cancers deaths in men and 80 percent in women are due to smoking. Tobacco use is also implicated in many other types of cancers.

Many lung cancer statistics are staggering:

  • 1.61 million: New cases of lung cancer worldwide in 2008 (12.7 percent of all new cancers).
  • 18.2: Percent of deaths worldwide due to lung cancer.
  • 55: Percent of lung cancers occur in developing countries.
  • 180,000: Number of Americans diagnosed annually with cancer related to tobacco use.
  • 20.6: Percent of U.S. adults who smoke (2009).
  • 65 or older: Age at which lung cancer patients are typically diagnosed.
  • 226,160: new lung cancer cases in the U.S. in 2012.
  • 87: Percent of lung cancers that are non-small cell, which spread more slowly than small cell lung cancers.
  • 80.5: Number of men per 100,000 diagnosed with lung cancer (54.5 women).
  • 65.2: Number of men per 100,000 who die from lung cancer (40 women).
  • 60: Number of well-established carcinogens in each cigarette puff.
  • 1.4 to 2.2: Number of milligrams of exposure to carcinogens in cigarette smoke.




National Cancer Institute. "Smoking."

National Cancer Institute. "What You Need to Know About Lung Cancer: Risk Factors." Web. 26 July 2007.

National Cancer Institute. "What You Need to Know About Lung Cancer: Diagnosis." Web. 26 July 2007.

World Health Organization. "Cancer." February 2012. Web.

GLOBOCAN 2008 Cancer Fact Sheet Summary. "Lung Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide in 2008. Web.

Office of the Surgeon General. "How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease." Pages 325 - 350. Web.

Nelson, Roxanne. "Impact of Smoking on Breast Cancer Risk Greater Than Thought." Medscape Medical News. Web. 24 May 2011,

World Health Organization. "Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011." Web.

Centers for Disease Control. "United States Cancer Statistics (USCS)." Web. 3 January 2011.