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The Epidemiology of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. Siegel et al.1 estimated a total of 246,210 new lung cancer cases and 163,890 deaths from lung cancer in the United States in 2013.1,2 These statistics reflect data ending in 2009, and likely underestimate the current lung cancer burden. In the United States, more Americans die of lung cancer every year than from prostate, breast, and colon cancer combined.1 Cancer of the lung and bronchus ranked second in cancer incidence in both sexes, with an estimated 118,080 new cases in males (14% of all new cancers) and 110,110 in females (14% of all new cancers).1 The age-adjusted incidence rate of lung cancer was 62 per 100,000 men and women per year in the United States, with the incidence rate much higher in men than in women (75.2 vs. 52.3 per 100,000).3 Lung cancer ranked first in both sexes in the number of estimated deaths yearly1 (87,260 or 28% of all cancer deaths for males and 72,220 or 26% of all cancer deaths for females) (Fig. 109-1). The current 5-year survival rate in the United States for lung cancer is 17%; while this rate has actually increased over the past few decades, it lags behind survival advances in other common malignancies.1

Figure 109-1

Ten leading cancer types for the estimated new cancer cases and deaths categorized by sex. (Reproduced with permission from Siegel R, Naishadham D, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2013. CA Cancer J Clin. 2013;63(1):11–30.)

Globally, lung cancer has been the most common cancer since 1985, both in terms of incidence and mortality rate. Worldwide, lung cancer is the largest contributor to new cancer diagnoses (1,350,000 new cases; 12.4% of total new cancer cases) and to death from cancer (1,180,000 deaths; 17.6% of total cancer deaths).2 Worldwide, it was also the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in males in 2008.2 For females, lung cancer was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death. Lung cancer incidence and mortality rates are highest in the United States and the developed countries, and relatively lower in Central America and most of Africa (Fig. 109-2). However, there has been a large relative increase in the numbers of cases of lung cancer in developing countries. Almost half (49.9%) of the cases now occur in developing countries, whereas in 1980, 69% of cases were in developed countries. The estimated numbers of lung cancer cases worldwide has increased by 51% since 1985 (a 44% increase in men and a 76% increase in women).2 The World Health Organization estimates that lung cancer deaths worldwide will continue to rise, largely as a result of an increase in ...

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