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 2020:

  • 29,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. This represents 13% of all new cancer cases in 2020.
  • 21,200 Canadians will die from lung cancer. This represents 25% of all cancer deaths in 2020.
  • 15,000 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 11,000 will die from it.
  • 14,800 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,200 will die from it.
  • On average, 81 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer every day.
  • On average, 58 Canadians will die from lung cancer every day.

Estimated Canadian lung cancer statistics (2020)

New cases






5-year net survival (estimates for 2012 to 2014)



Trends in lung cancer

In Canada, the incidence rate of lung cancer is higher in men than in women. In males, the rate of lung cancer began decreasing in 1990. In females, the lung cancer incidence rate began decreasing in 2011.

The difference in incidence rates and trends between the sexes is likely because of differences in tobacco use. More men smoked than females, and men’s smoking rates began to decline earlier than women’s smoking rates.

In males, the death rate from lung cancer began to level off in the late 1980s and has been declining ever since. The death rate for females was increasing until 2006 but is now decreasing. Men continue to have a higher rate of lung cancer death than women.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from lung cancer

It is estimated that about 1 in 14 Canadian men will develop lung cancer during their lifetime and one in 16 will die from it.

It is estimated that about 1 in 15 Canadian women will develop lung cancer during their lifetime and one in 19 will die from it.

For more information, go to Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.


A teenaged girl sitting on her bed I was in total shock when I heard the diagnosis of cancer. Cancer to me was an adult’s disease. Being a 13-year-old teenager, it certainly wasn’t even on my radar.

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