1 Lung Cancer Epidemiology
This chapter discusses the epidemiology of lung cancer both globally and in the United States including the number of new diagnoses and expected deaths from lung cancer in 2017. A cost analysis of the impact of cancer and lung cancer in particular on society is also addressed.
Keywords: lung cancer, epidemiology, new diagnoses, new deaths, age-adjusted death rates, LIVESTRONG, global impact, economic loss
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, not only in the United States, but also worldwide. Lung cancer alone accounts for about 27% of all cancer deaths in the United States. Each year, in the United States, lung cancer claims the lives of more men and women than all of the cancers of the breast, prostate, colorectum, kidney, and melanoma combined.
Worldwide in 2012, the latest year for which global statistics are available, new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in more than 1.8 million men and women, comprising 13% of all new cancer diagnoses (▶ Fig. 1.1). More than 1.6 million men and women died of this disease. That is, lung cancer was responsible for 19% of all cancer-related deaths in the world (▶ Fig. 1.2).
In the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, over 222,500 new diagnoses of lung cancer will be made. This includes about 116,990 American men and 105,510 American women. The American Cancer Society further estimates that in 2017, about 155,870 Americans will die from lung cancer, including roughly 84,590 men and 71,280 women.
The age-adjusted death rate for lung cancer is higher for men (51.7 per 100,000 persons) than for women (34.7 per 100,000 persons). It is similar for African Americans (45.7 per 100,000 persons) and Caucasians (45.4 per 100,000 persons). However, African American men have a far higher age-adjusted lung cancer death rate than Caucasian men, while African American and Caucasian women have similar rates.
To put these statistics into perspective, realize that one new diagnosis of lung cancer is made EVERY 2.5 minutes, and that one person dies from lung cancer EVERY 3 minutes in the United States alone.