What is the incidence of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the US?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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In the United States, lung cancer is the second most common cancer, after prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women, but the most common cause of cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society projects that 235,760 cancers of the lung and bronchus will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021, with 131,880 deaths. [6] Approximately 85% of those cases are expected to be NSCLC.

The incidence of lung cancer has been decreasing since the mid-1980s in US men, but only since the mid-2000s in US women. Since the mid-2000s, the overall incidence has decreased steadily by about 2% per year, but faster in men than in women. [6]  

Lung cancer death rates for US women are among the highest in the world. Although in the United States, death rates are higher in men than in women, rates for US men are still lower than rates for men in several other countries. [22] These trends in US death rates parallel trends in smoking prevalence over the past 50 years. [6]

However, lung cancer death rates in the US have been decreasing at an accelerated rate. From 2014 to 2018, mortality rates decreased by more than 5% per year in men and 4% per year in women. [6]

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