Lung cancer statistics

Smoking is the principal cause of lung cancer; it is estimated to be responsible for 85 per cent of all types of this cancer

The Continuous Update Project Panel judged that there was convincing evidence that arsenic in drinking water and high-dose beta-carotene supplements (when taken by people who smoke, or who used to smoke tobacco) are causes of lung cancer. 

Lung cancer incidence

The countries with the top 20 highest incidence of lung cancer in 2012 are given in the tables below.

Both sexes

  • Hungary had the highest rate of lung cancer, followed by Serbia and North Korea.
  • About 58 per cent of lung cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of lung cancer was in Northern America and Europe; and the lowest incidence in Africa and, Latin America and Caribbean.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Hungary 51.6
2 Serbia 45.6
3 North Korea 44.2
4 Macedonia 40.8
5 New Caledonia 40.1
6 Montenegro 39.6
7 Denmark 39.2
8 US 38.4
9 Poland 38.0
10 Canada 37.9
11 The Netherlands 37.2
12 French Polynesia 37.1
13 Belgium 36.8
14 China 36.1
15 Armenia 35.9
16 France (metropolitan) 35.0
17 Guam 34.7
17 Turkey 34.7
19 Croatia 34.3
20 Slovenia 33.9

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Men

  • Hungary has the highest rate of lung cancer in 2012, followed by Armenia and Macedonia.
  • About 61 per cent of lung cancer cases occurred in less developed countries
  • The highest incidence of lung cancer was in Europe and Northern America; and the lowest incidence in Africa and, Latin America and Caribbean.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Hungary 76.6
2 Armenia 72.9
3 Macedonia 71.3
4 Serbia 70.3
5 Turkey 63.9
6 Montenegro 62.4
7 Poland 60.5
8 Kazakhstan 59.2
9 Romania 58.8
10 North Korea 58.5
11 Croatia 58.2
12 Latvia 58.0
13 New Caledonia 57.0
14 Belarus 56.9
15 Belgium 56.6
16 Lithuania 55.4
17 Slovenia 53.8
18 French Polynesia 53.2
19 China 52.8
20 Spain 52.5

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Women

  • Denmark had the highest rate of lung cancer in 2012, followed by Canada and the US.
  • About 54 per cent of lung cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of lung cancer was in Northern America and Oceania; and the lowest incidence in Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000 (world)
1 Denmark 37.6
2 Canada 34.4
3 US 33.7
4 North Korea 33.4
5 Hungary 33.2
6 The Netherlands 31.6
7 Iceland 28.9
8 Ireland 27.4
9 Norway 26.1
10 UK 25.8
11 Serbia 23.9
12 Cuba 23.8
13 New Caledonia 23.6
14 New Zealand 23.2
15 Guam 22.7
16 Brunei 22.0
17 Poland 21.8
18 Australia 21.5
19 French Polynesia 21.1
20 China 20.7

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.