Lung cancer incidence statistics

New cases of lung cancer, 2014, UK

Percentage lung cancer is of total cancer cases, 2014, UK

Peak rate of lung cancer cases, 2012-2014, UK

Lung cancer incidence rates have changed differently for each sex since the early 1990s, UK

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK (2014), accounting for 13% of all new cases. It is the second most common cancer in both males (14% of all male cases) and females (12% of all female cases).[1-4]

In 2014, there were 46,403 new cases of lung cancer in the UK: 24,769 (53%) in males and 21,634 (47%) in females, giving a male:female ratio of around 11:10.[1-4] Thecrude incidence rate Open a glossary item  shows that there are 78 new lung cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 66 for every 100,000 females.

The Europeanage-standardised incidence rates Open a glossary item(AS rates) are significantly higher in Scotland compared with the other constituent countries of the UK for both males and females. There are no significant differences between the other constituent countries of the UK for either sex.[1-4]

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2014

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 20,127 1,288 2,714 640 24,769
Crude Rate 75.2 84.7 104.5 70.9 77.9
AS Rate 91.6 91.9 122.6 95.0 94.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 90.3 86.8 117.9 87.6 93.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 92.8 96.9 127.2 102.3 95.5
Female Cases 17,326 1,095 2,639 574 21,634
Crude Rate 62.9 69.7 95.9 61.2 66.0
AS Rate 65.2 65.0 95.4 70.5 68.0
AS Rate - 95% LCL 64.2 61.2 91.8 64.8 67.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 66.2 68.9 99.0 76.3 68.9
Persons Cases 37,453 2,383 5,353 1,214 46,403
Crude Rate 69.0 77.1 100.1 66.0 71.8
AS Rate 76.6 76.6 106.7 80.7 79.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 75.8 73.5 103.9 76.2 78.6
AS Rate - 95% UCL 77.4 79.6 109.6 85.3 80.0
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For lung cancer, like most cancer types, differences between countries largely reflect risk factor prevalence in years past.

Lung cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older males and females. In the UK in 2012-2014, on average each year more than 4 in 10 (44%) cases were diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates rise steeply from around age 45-49 and peak in the 85-89 age group, and then subsequently drop. Incidence rates are higher for males than females in those aged 55-59 and over, with no significant sex differences in younger age groups. This gap is widest at age 90+, when the male: female ratio of age-specific incidence rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 21:10.[1-4]

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2012-2014

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For lung cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. This largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

Lung cancer incidence rates have decreased by 7% in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] However this includes an increase in females and a decrease in males. Lung cancer incidence rates decreased by 4% (persons) in Great Britain between 1979-1981 and 1991-1993. [ 1-3 ]

For males, Europeanage-standardised (AS) Open a glossary itemincidence rates decreased by 29% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014. In contrast, female rates increased by 28% in this period.[1-4]

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2003-2005 and 2012-2014), lung cancer AS incidence rates have increased by 4% for males and females combined, though this includes a decrease of 8% for males and an increase of 18% for females.[1-4]

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2014​

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Lung cancer incidence rates have decreased overall for all of the broad age groups in males in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] The largest decrease has been in males aged 50-59, with European AS incidence rates decreasing by 38% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014.

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Males, UK, 1993-2014

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Conversely, lung cancer incidence rates have increased overall for most of the broad age groups in females in UK since the early 1990s but have decreased in females aged 25-49.[1-4] The largest increase has been in females aged 80+, with European As incidence rates increasing by 80% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014.

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Females, UK, 1993-2014

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For lung cancer, like most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past,[5,6] and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts.

Lung Cancer (C33-C34) European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates and Smoking Prevalence, Great Britain, 1948-2013​

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A high proportion (85-95%) of lung cancer cases in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have stage at diagnosis recorded.[1-3]

Lung cancer patients with a known stage are most commonly diagnosed at stage IV (49-53%). More people with a known stage are diagnosed at a late stage (72-76% are diagnosed at stage III or IV), than an early stage (24-28% are diagnosed at stage I or II).[1-3]

The stage distribution for each cancer type will reflect many factors including how the cancer type develops, the way symptoms appear, public awareness of symptoms, how quickly a person goes to see their doctor and how quickly the cancer is recognised

and diagnosed by a doctor. It might also relate to whether a national screening programme that can detect early stage disease exists for that cancer type, along with the extent of uptake of that programme.

A cancer type associated with a large proportion of early stage diagnoses could be one that is more likely to be symptomatic at an earlier stage of development, with recognisable symptoms rather than more generic ones.

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), Proportion of Cases Diagnosed at Each Stage, All Ages, England 2014, Scotland 2014-2015 and Northern Ireland 2010-2014

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Stage at diagnosis by deprivation

Late stage at diagnosis of lung cancer is not associated with deprivation in England.[4]

Stage at diagnosis by age

Late stage at diagnosis of lung cancer is more common in younger adults (aged 15-59) in England (81% diagnosed at stage III or IV) compared to older adults aged 80+ (77% diagnosed at stage III or IV) and adults aged 60-79 (76% diagnosed at stage III or IV).[4]

There are no differences between late stage at diagnosis for lung cancer between those aged 60-79 and 80+ in England.[4]

Stage at diagnosis by sex

Late stage at diagnosis of lung is associated with male sex in England. Among adults aged 15-99 in England, 78% of males are diagnosed at stage III or IV, versus 75% of females.[4]

These patterns by deprivation, age and sex are probably not explained  by other demographic differences.[5]

Stage at diagnosis by Ethnicity

Late stage at diagnosis for lung cancer in England is more common in Asian-Pakistani adults (75% diagnosed at stage III or IV) and Black Caribbean adults (71% diagnosed at stage III or IV), compared to White British adults (66% diagnosed at stage III or IV) after adjusting for age, sex and deprivation status.[6]

Late stage at diagnosis for lung cancer in England is less common in Asian-Indian adults (61% diagnosed at stage III or IV), compared to White British adults (75% diagnosed at stage III or IV) after adjusting for age, sex and deprivation status.[6]

  1. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Stage Breakdown by CCG 2014. London: NCIN; 2016.
  2. ISD Scotland, Detect Cancer Early Staging Data. Scotland: ISD; 2016.
  3. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queens University Belfast, Incidence by stage 2010-2014. Belfast: NICR; 2016.
  4. National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. Routes to diagnosis of cancer by stage 2012-2013 workbook. London: NCRAS; 2016.
  5. Lyratzopoulos G, Abel G, Brown C, et al. Socio-demographic inequalities in stage of cancer diagnosis: evidence from patients with female breast, lung, colon, rectal, prostate, renal, bladder, melanoma, ovarian and endometrial cancer. Annals of Oncology, 2012:843-50.
  6. National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. Ethnicity and stage at diagnosis. London: NCRAS; 2016

Data is for: England 2014 ICD-10 C34, Scotland 2014-2015 and Northern Ireland 2010-2014, ICD-10 C33-C34 (overall stage at diagnosis) and England, 2012-2013, ICD-10 C33-C34 (stage at diagnosis by deprivation, age, sex, and ethnicity)

Data is not comparable between countries due to differences in time periods and possible differences in how countries record stage at diagnosis.

The proportions of patients diagnosed late only include cases with a known stage at diagnosis and are not adjusted for other demographics differences (e.g. age, sex, ethnicity) unless stated otherwise

Lung cancer incidence rates are projected to fall by 7% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 88 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.[1] This includes a larger decrease for males than for females.

For males, lung cancer European age standardised (AS) incidence rates in the UK are projected to fall by 14% between 2014 and 2035, to 97 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1] For females, rates are projected to fall by less than 1% between 2014 and 2035, to 80 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1]

Lung cancer (C33-C34), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

It is projected that 62,832 cases of lung cancer (32,875 in males, 29,957 in females) will be diagnosed in the UK in 2035.

Age-standardised Open a glossary itemrates for White males with lung cancer range from 61.1 to 62.6 per 100,000. Rates for Asian males are significantly lower, ranging from 23.1 to 37.2 per 100,000 and the rates for Black males are also significantly lower, ranging from 30.1 to 48.9 per 100,000. For females there is a similar pattern - the age-standardised rates for White females range from 35.2 to 36.0 per 100,000, while rates for Asian and Black females are also significantly lower ranging from 6.9 to 12.4 per 100,000 and 8.5 to 15.1 per 100,000 respectively.[1]

Ranges are given because of the analysis methodology used to account for missing and unknown data. For lung cancer, 155,679 cases were identified; 23% had no known ethnicity.

In the UK around 38,100 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.[ 1 ]

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were nearly 1.68 million men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.[2]

Lung cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Europe, with more than 410,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (12% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest Worldage-standardised Open a glossary itemincidence rates for lung cancer are in Hungary for men and Denmark for women; the lowest rates are in Sweden for men and Ukraine for women. UK lung cancer incidence rates are estimated to be 7th lowest in males in Europe, and seventh highest in females.[1] These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.[2]

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, with nearly 1,825,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (13% of the total). Lung cancer incidence rates are highest in Northern America and lowest in Middle Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.[2]

Variation between countries may reflect different prevalence of risk factors, use of screening, and diagnostic methods.

  1. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  2. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.


Category: Cancer-2

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