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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, researchers use statistical methods 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 2015:

  • 26,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. This represents 14% of all new cancer cases in 2015.
  • 20,900 Canadians will die from lung cancer. This represents 27% of all cancer deaths in 2015.
  • 13,600 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,900 will die from it.
  • 13,000 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,000 will die from it.
  • On average, 73 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 (2015)

New cases



Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*






Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*



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



*Age-standardized to the 1991 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.

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 since 2006. This difference in incidence rates between the sexes is likely because men’s smoking rates began to decline earlier than women’s smoking rates.

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 Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.


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