Fast Facts on Lung Cancer

  • More Americans die each year from lung cancer than from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined.
  • Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of men and women.
  • Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of the lungs. While normal lung tissue cells reproduce and develop into healthy lung tissue, cancerous cells reproduce rapidly and never grow into normal lung tissue. Lumps of cancer cells become tumors which disrupt the lung’s proper functioning.
  • Most (87 percent) - but not all - lung cancers are smoking related.
  • Not all smokers develop lung cancer.
  • Quitting smoking reduces an individual's risk significantly, although former smokers remain at greater risk for lung cancer than people who never smoked.
  • Other risk factors: exposure to other carcinogens such as asbestos and radon gas; exposure to second hand smoke.
  • Approximately 171,900 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2003, accounting for 13 percent of all new cancer cases.
  • An estimated 157,200 Americans will die in 2003 from lung cancer, accounting for 28 percent of all cancer deaths.
  • While overall cancer incidence rates are declining, lung cancer incidence rates among women continue to rise.
  • Between 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer among women increased by more than 400 percent.
  • An estimated 68,800 women in the U.S. will die this year from lung cancer.
  • An estimated 88,400 men in the U.S. will die this year from lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer among African American men and women, and kills more African Americans than any other cancer.
  • African American men are at least 40 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than Caucasian men.
  • The mortality rate of African American males with lung cancer is 113.0 per 100,000 people, compared to 81.7 for Caucasian males.
  • The incidence of lung cancer among African American males is 124.1 per 100,000 people, compared to 82.9 of Caucasian males.
  • African American women have the highest incidence rates of lung cancer followed by Caucasians, Asian Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and American Indians/Native Alaskans.
Paul Eilers is an Independent Member of The AIM Companies™