By the numbers: Lung cancer

Early detection is key for this common form of cancer

Already one of the most common forms of cancer, lung cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death.

“Early detection of lung cancer plays a crucial role in improving survival rate from this deadly disease,” explained Hirva Mamdani, M.D., medical oncologist, leader of the Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team and the director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. “We can save thousands of lives by encouraging our friends and family who are at high risk of developing lung cancer to get an annual screening low-dose CT scan of the chest.”

Cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Those who should consider calling 1-800-KARMANOS and scheduling a lung cancer screening are:

  • Current smokers or former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years with at least a 20-pack-year smoking history.
  • Between the ages of 50 and 80.


Lung cancer screening is covered by Medicare for patients 50-77 years old and most commercial insurance plans cover screening for patients 55-80. There is usually no out-of-pocket cost for low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung screening. Still, it is best to speak with your insurance provider about coverage.

If caught early — before the disease has spread — the five-year survival rate for lung cancer increases threefold. Unfortunately, only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are detected in this early stage, according to the American Lung Association. Take a look at the lung cancer case numbers below.

Lung cancer at a glance

In 2022, it is estimated that there will be:
  • 236,740

    new lung cancer cases in the U.S., an increase from 2021.
  • 130,180

    lung cancer deaths in the U.S., a decrease from 2021.
When it comes to lung cancer:
  • 13%

    of new cancer cases will be lung cancer cases.
  • 25%

    of cancer-related deaths will be from lung cancer — nearly one in every four cancer deaths.
  • 18.6%

    will be the average five-year survival rate, the lowest among all forms of cancer.
  • 56%

    is the five-year survival rate if lung cancer is caught early and localized to the lungs.
  • 16%

    of lung cancer cases will be caught early.
  • 80%

    of lung cancer cases will be caused by smoking.


Karmanos has partnered with over 50 cancer centers to encourage low-dose CT screenings for high-risk patients, which would help decrease the number of deaths due to lung cancer and increase the number of cases caught early.

A CT scan is the only way to catch lung cancer early and before symptoms begin to show. Could you or someone you love benefit from receiving annual CT scans through the Karmanos Lung Cancer Screening Program?

“The Lung Cancer Screening Program is designed to monitor lung health. In this program, we make sure patients are receiving their annual low-dose CT scans and follow-ups as necessary,” Dr. Mamdani said. “I encourage anyone at high risk for developing lung cancer, especially if they are a current or former smoker, to contact Karmanos, ask about the Lung Cancer Screening Program and make their appointment.”

Learn more about the Lung Cancer Screening Program and request a consultation here or call 1-800-KARMANOS.