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Lung cancer

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Lung cancer statistics

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women in Canada.

To provide the most current cancer statistics, statistical methods are used to estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths until actual data become available.

Incidence and mortality

Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer.

It is estimated that in 2016:

  • 28,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. This represents 14% of all new cancer cases in 2016.
  • 20,800 Canadians will die from lung cancer. This represents 26% of all cancer deaths in 2016.
  • 14,400 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,900 will die from it.
  • 14,000 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 9,800 will die from it.
  • On average, 78 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer every day.
  • On average, 57 Canadians will die from lung cancer every day.

Estimated Canadian lung cancer statistics (2016)
CategoryMalesFemales

New cases

14,400

14,000

Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*

78.9

66.2

Deaths

10,900

9,800

Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*

60.5

45.8

5-year net survival (estimates for 2006–2008)

14%

20%

*Age-standardized to the 2011 Canadian Standard Population. Age-standardization is a statistical method that removes the effect of age on the calculated rate. It allows rates to be compared over time or across provinces and territories.

Pie chart of percentage of all estimated new cancer cases in 2016 showing lung cancer and all other cancers combined
 
 Pie chart of percentage of all estimated cancer deaths in 2016 from lung cancer and all other cancers combined

Trends in lung cancer

In Canada, the incidence rate for lung cancer is higher in men than in women. In males, the incidence rate of lung cancer began to level off in the mid-1980s and has since been declining.  Among females, the incidence rate for lung cancer is no longer increasing as of 2006. The difference in incidence rates and trends between the sexes is likely because of differences in tobacco use. Men’s smoking rates began to decline earlier than women’s smoking rates.

In males, the death rate of lung cancer began to level off in the late 1980s and has been declining ever since. The death rate for females shows a small decrease between 2006 and 2012, but the change is not statistically significant. Men continue to have a higher rate of lung cancer death than women.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from lung cancer

Based on 2010 estimates:

  • About 1 in 12 Canadian men is expected to develop lung cancer during his lifetime and one in 13 will die from it.
  • About 1 in 15 Canadian women is expected to develop lung cancer during her lifetime and one in 17 will die from it.

For more information, go to the Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.

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