What Are the Survival Rates for Lung Cancer?

What determines the cancer survival rate? Some points to bear in mind:

The percentage of people who survive lung cancer for a specific time period following their diagnosis indicates the cancer survival rate.

  • The relative survival rate is used to measure the survival of persons living with lung cancer in comparison to the general population and is measured over a 5 year period. For example; the relative survival rate for 1995 – 2002 was 15 percent.
  • The 5 year survival rate would indicate the percentage of people alive after lung cancer diagnosis. The state of health of the individual after the five years is not taken into consideration. That is whether or not they have signs or symptoms of the disease or if they are on medication.
  • Lung cancer survival rate measures are calculated using large groups of people. What matters for this measure is whether or not they are alive five years following their diagnosis.

The rate at which individuals will survive lung cancer are dependent on several factors. These include:

  • The type of lung cancer (small cell lung cancer or small cell combined lung cancer)
  • The stage of the cancer
  • The general health of the patient
  • Whether the cancer is a new diagnosis or a recurrence

Lung Cancer Survival Rate by Race and Gender 1995 – 2002

Survival rates can be used to ascertain various assessments. These assessments may include the comparative survival rate among races or gender. The 1995 – 2002 reflecting the survival rates by race are as follows:

  • 10.5 percent for men of African descent
  • 14.5 percent for women of African descent
  • 13.4 percent for Caucasian men
  • 17.4 percent for Caucasian women

Survival Rate for Small Cell Lung Cancer Based on Stage of Diagnosis

For the same period, the stage at which individuals were diagnosed with lung cancer was also used to measure the survival rate. Historical data reveals that lung cancer cases are diagnosed at various stages. The stages and survival rate are:

  • 31 percent at stage I
  • 19 percent at stage II
  • 8 percent at stage III
  • 2 percent at stage IV

A Brief Explanation of the Stages

  • Stage I: The primary or localized stage
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or beyond the primary site
  • Stage III: Cancer has already metastasized (at the distant stage)
  • Stage IV: Diagnosed at an unknown or well advanced stage

New Cases and Deaths in the United States 2011

The estimated new cases and deaths from lung cancer in the United States for 2011 are as follows:

  • New cases: 221, 130
  • Deaths: 156,940

Survival Rate by Age Group and Gender in England and Wales

A sample survival rate by age for males and females (15 – 99 years) in England and Wales for the 5 year period 2001 – 2006 is as follows:

  • 32 percent for men 15 – 39 years old
  • 33 percent for women 15 – 39 years old
  • 11 percent for men 40 – 49 years old
  • 13 percent for women 40 – 49 years old
  • 9 percent for men 50 – 59 years old
  • 12 percent for women 50 – 59 years old
  • 8 percent for men 60 – 69 years old
  • 11 percent for women 60 – 69 years old
  • 5 percent for men 70 – 79 years old
  • 6 percent for women 70 – 79 years old
  • 2 percent for men 80 – 89 years old
  • 3 percent for women 80 – 89 years old

A Scottish analysis report indicated the following information regarding lung cancer survival rates for the period 1971 to 2006:

  • 50% of lung cancer patients die within four months of diagnosis
  • Between 1971 – 75 and 2004 – 2006 the number of men in England and Wales with a one-year survival rate rose from 15% – 27%
  • Between 1971 – 75 and 2004 – 2006 the number of women in England and Wales with a one-year survival rate rose from 31% – 30%
  • The five year survival rates over the same period doubled but remain low at 8%