Lung Cancer Is A Major Public Health Problem

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, but it doesn’t have to be. Few preventive interventions are as reliably effective in reducing avoidable death as screening for lung cancer.


Estimated adults diagnosed with lung cancer in 20181

alot of people


Estimated deaths from lung cancer in 20181

1 in 3 people image

1 in 25

Adults ages 55-80 who report getting screened as recommended2

Lung Cancer Screening Rates

It takes time to introduce a new screening test, and current self-reported rates of having undergone a low-dose CT examination for lung cancer are very low. We will be tracking all major measures to assess our progress in uptake of lung cancer screening among eligible adults.

CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

In 2017, CDC included an optional module (Module 21) in the BRFSS. Respondents will be asked about smoking history, whether they had a CT scan in the previous 12 months, and whether the scan was to check for lung cancer. States that included Module 21 will have state-wide estimates of recent lung cancer screening.

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

The NHIS is a nationwide survey that produces national estimates of health indicators. The NHIS includes a cancer control supplement (CCS) every 5 years, and the most recent CCS was conducted in 2015. In 2010, only 3.3% of adults who met USPSTF criteria for lung cancer screening reported having undergone lung cancer screening; in 2015, only 3.9% reported having undergone lung cancer screening.2 The next CCS is scheduled for 2020.

State and Local Level Statistics

The following sources provide comprehensive cancer data by state, county, and city levels for the major cancers. Data specific to lung cancer are highlighted:

Lung Cancer Incidence & Mortality

The incidence rate has been declining since the mid-1980s in men, but only since the mid-2000s in women, because of gender differences in historical patterns of smoking uptake and cessation. From 2005 to 2014, lung cancer incidence rates decreased by 2.5% per year in men and 1.2% per year in women.3

The lung cancer death rate has declined by 45% since 1990 in men and by 19% since 2002 in women due to reductions in smoking, with the pace of decline quickening over the past decade; from 2011 to 2015, the rate decreased by 3.8% per year in men and by 2.3% per year in women.3

U.S. Lung cancer incidence rates, 2010-2014

by state

U.S. Lung cancer mortality rates, 2011-2015

by state

State and Local Level Incidence & Mortality Rates

The following sources provide state, county, and city level incidence and mortality rates:


  1. Cancer Facts & Figures. American Cancer Society. 2018. 
  2. Jemal A, Fedewa SA. Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose Computed Tomography in the United States-2010 to 2015. JAMA Oncol 2017;3:1278-81.
  3. American Cancer Society Facts & Figures, 2018. American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA.