About one in five cancer deaths in the US is due to lung cancer, making this type of cancer the most common cause of cancer-related deaths nationwide. This startling statistic by the American Cancer Society sheds awareness on the importance of early detection. It highlights an urgent need for more research and funding for effective lung cancer treatments.
Every year in November, people observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and healthcare professionals to help accelerate the pace of research by increasing awareness about the severity and long-term effects this disease can have on people's lives. Through education and advocacy, Lung Cancer Awareness Month can serve as a powerful platform to call attention to the various ways we can all work to enhance lung health, lower the risk of developing lung cancer, and provide support to patients who are struggling with a recent diagnosis.
How Many People Die of Lung Cancer Each Year?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. According to the lung cancer facts and figures by the American Cancer Society, this devastating disease will contribute to about 127,070 deaths in 2023. In addition, over 238,340 people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer, with a new diagnosis occurring every 2.2 minutes.
Key Lung Cancer Statistics and Facts
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the ideal opportunity to learn about crucial lung cancer statistics and facts about the disease. Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer globally, and specific factors can increase the risk of developing the disease. By staying abreast of new and developing lung cancer statistics, individuals and healthcare professionals can familiarize themselves with certain risk factors, warning signs, and treatment options.
The following statistics are based on research pulled from the American Cancer Society and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Remember that the facts below are presented for educational reasons only and should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and claims more lives annually than the combined totals of colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
- In 2023, there will be approximately 238,340 new cases of lung cancer diagnosis in the U.S.
- A man's lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is approximately 1 in 16; a woman's risk is around 1 in 17.
- The average age of people diagnosed with lung cancer is about 70.
- Only a small percentage of those diagnosed with lung cancer are under the age of 4.
- Compared to White males, Black men have a 12% higher risk of developing lung cancer. Compared to White women, Black women have a rate that is almost 16% lower.
- Tobacco use (smoking) is the leading risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for 80% of all lung cancer fatalities, while radon gas exposure is the second major cause of lung cancer.
- Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Arkansas have the highest lung cancer mortality rates.
How to Prevent Lung Cancer: Reduce Your Risks
Understanding lung cancer facts can educate, empower, and help individuals identify symptoms early and seek appropriate treatment options. The following statistics are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or lung cancer treatment; they can only serve as informational stats to be aware of. Similarly, you should never ignore or postpone seeking qualified medical advice or treatment if you have any questions about a medical condition or treatment.
Below are a few key points concerning lung cancer risks and preventative measures:
- Aside from radon and smoking, risk factors for lung cancer include secondhand smoke, asbestos, certain metals, radiation, air pollution, and diesel exhaust.
- Lung cancer may be influenced by genetic and family history.
- People who have received radiation to the chest have a higher risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer.
- Avoiding recognized cancer-causing chemicals at the workplace and elsewhere may help reduce an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer.
- Avoiding inhaling secondhand smoke and quitting smoking are the two best ways to lower your chance of developing lung cancer.
- A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also help lower your risk of developing lung cancer.
Why Is Lung Cancer Awareness Important?
Lung cancer is too often diagnosed in the later stages of the disease—as early symptoms can go unnoticed—making it harder to treat. When this happens, lung cancer may have progressed and spread to other body parts. To help curb this cycle, healthcare facilities and professionals can continue to increase awareness of lung cancer by providing patients with important information relating to preventative measures and early detection methods.
Raising awareness around lung cancer is essential because it can help encourage more funding for research to help better identify lung cancer treatment. In addition, increasing lung cancer awareness can aid in the discovery of new therapies—and, with a bit of perseverance and determination—lead to the discovery of a cure for this life-threatening condition.