Lung cancer survival rates are improving, but we still have a long way to go

According to the latest data, the five-year survival rate among patients with lung cancer has actually improved over the last decade.

But, in my view, that’s still not good enough. In fact, it’s still far lower than all the other major cancers—including breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Plus, as I explained back in February, a staggering percentage of men and women in the U.S. diagnosed with lung cancer don’t receive even “minimal treatments,” as recommended by national guidelines. And only a dismal percentage of high-risk patients actually get annual screenings, as I’ll explain in a moment.

Of course, the government’s long-standing and disturbing neglect of lung cancer victims began in the mid-1980s, when they decided that tobacco was the single cause of the disease.

And with that one misguided decision, they dropped the ball on research and funding into the other known risk factors for lung cancer—including genetic and environmental factors. They also dropped the ball on research into developing new screenings and treatment techniques.

Finally, in the mid 1990s, researchers began testing of a new, safe screening technique called low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). They learned it was very effective as an early screening tool that could save lives.

But it took another decade before LDCT finally went into use—in part because government experts (including those at the Veterans Health Administration) initially scoffed, ridiculed, and dragged their heels on it.

Eventually, more and more physicians started recommending it for their patients at high risk of developing lung cancer. And, in 2015, Medicare even began to cover it! And, to no surprise, over that same time period, lung cancer survival rates also began to improve!

Modest improvements in lung cancer survival

From 2009 to 2019, the incidence of lung cancer has remained pretty constant at 60 cases per 100,000 people nationally—ranging from a low of 27 per 100,000 in Utah to a high of 93 per 100,000 in Kentucky.

But over that same period, the five-year survival rate increased from 17 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2019—which represents a modest, but significant 26 percent improvement.

Researchers credit this improvement in survival rate to improvements in early diagnosis, often with the LDCT screening that I mentioned earlier. In fact, researchers estimate that if all the high-risk people were screened, it could prevent nearly 48,000 deaths each year!

And I agree. Just consider this…

When lung cancer is detected and treated while the tumor is restricted to the lung, 58 percent of patients survive for at least five years. But when the cancer has metastasized to distant sites in the body, only 6 percent of lung cancer patients will still be alive after five years.

Yet, despite the clear importance of early detection, only 22 percent of people, nationally, with lung cancer are detected at an early stage.

And it’s really no wonder…

The annual screening rate is just 4 percent nationally. Plus, treatments aren’t consistent—nationally or from state-to-state. In fact, on a nationwide basis, 21 percent of people with lung cancer had surgery as part of the initial treatment. Whereas 15 percent received no treatments.

In the end, these statistics still present a pretty grim picture for lung cancer victims. Especially when compared to victims of other major cancers, such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer—which have far higher five-year survival rates.

Fortunately, you can learn about the many natural approaches to strengthen your lungs and protect yourself from lung diseases—America’s No. 3 killer—in my Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol. This innovative, online protocol is the sum total of more than 40 years of personal research, study, and experience. And every solution you’ll hear about has been studied and researched by countless, cutting-edge medical institutions. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!


“Lung Cancer Progress: Survival Increasing in U.S.” Medscape, 11/15/19. (