Lung Cancer Survival Rates

The percentage of patients with the same type and stage of cancer who are still alive after a given length of time (typically 5 years) after being diagnosed is known as survival rate. It can’t tell you how long you’ll survive, but it can help you figure out how likely it is that your therapy will be effective.


Anne Jäkel

Roland Schäfli



Remember, that survival rates are estimates based on the outcomes of huge numbers of individuals who have had a certain cancer in the past, but they can’t predict what will happen in your situation. These figures might be difficult to predict, and they may leave you with additional questions. Consult your doctor to see if these figures apply to you.

Lung Cancer 5-year Relative Survival Rates

When patients with the same kind and stage of cancer are compared to the general population, the relative survival rate is calculated. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a certain stage of lung cancer is 55%, it implies that persons with that disease are roughly 55% as likely to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed as those who do not have that cancer.

Country-specific Differences

Lung cancer has a relatively low survival rate compared to breast and colon cancers. Across Europe, overall survival rates for lung cancer patients during 2010-14 were 15% (after correcting for other causes of death). [1] Depending on the country, the percentages range from less than 10% in Croatia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria to 20% in Austria, Sweden, Iceland, and Switzerland. There may be significant differences in access to drugs and other treatments as a result of the timing of diagnosis. Public payers cover several pharmaceuticals for lung cancer treatment in Europe, however the availability of new drugs for some types of lung cancer (e.g. non-small cell) varies widely across countries (OECD, 2020). [1]

Across countries in Europe, lung cancer five-year net survival increased from 11% to 15% from 2000-04 to 2010-14. With the exception of Croatia, all EU countries have improved. [1]

Canada and the US reported 20-30% 5-year survival rates for patients diagnosed during 2010–14. [2]


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