Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada and the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) estimates that in 2015 26, 600 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer—representing 14 per cent of all new cancer cases in 2015. Among those, 20, 900 will die from lung cancer—representing 27 per cent of all cancer deaths in 2015 .
Cancer survival rates or survival statistics tell us how long a certain percentage of people will survive a specific cancer or disease. Cancer statistics often use an overall five-year survival rate. There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics . Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics such as age and sex .
In Canada, the five year relative survival rate reported for lung cancer (NSCLC) is around 17 per cent. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with lung cancer are 17 per cent as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population . It’s important to keep in mind that these are general estimates and a person’s own prognosis is influenced by a number of variables, such as their medical history, the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, the treatment received and treatment response .
Survival rates for different lung cancers
Non-small cell lung cancer
Like many other cancers, the earlier non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome is.
 Non-small cell lung cancer survival
Small cell lung cancer
While only representing 10-15 per cent of all lung cancers, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive type of all lung cancers. In many cases, it has already metastasized to other parts of the body by the time it is diagnosed . As with above, there are no current numbers on the SCLC in Canada and so the numbers below were the numbers below are relative survival rates calculated from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, based on people who were diagnosed with small cell lung cancer between 1988 and 2001.
Unfortunately, NSCLC is not often found until it is at an advanced stage, making it much harder to treat. There are currently no Canadian statistics available for the different stages of NSCLC so the Canadian Cancer Society has compiled information from a variety of sources in other countries .
 Small cell lung cancer survival rates
 “Lung Cancer Statistics.” Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Society, 2016. Web. 01 June 2016.
 “Survival Statistics for Non–small Cell Lung Cancer.” Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Society, 2016. Web. 1 June 2016.
 Non–small Cell Lung Cancer Survival. Digital image. Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Society, 2016. Web. 1 June 2016.
 “Small Cell Lung Cancer Survival Rates, by Stage.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 01 June 2016.
 Small Cell Lung Cancer Survival Rates, by Stage. Digital image. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 01 June 2016.