Canadian Cancer Statistics: A 2020 special report on lung cancer

The recently released 2020 special report on lung cancer provides statistics on lung cancer incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence in Canada. Where relevant, statistics are presented by sex, age, geography, stage, histology and time. The report also includes contextual information about lung cancer prevention, screening, treatment, disparities and stigma.

This special report was developed by the Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada with data provided by the provincial and territorial cancer registries.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Canada. More Canadians die of lung cancer than colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancers combined.
  • Lung cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing for males and decreasing or remaining stable for females in most provinces and territories.
  • About half of all lung cancer cases in Canada were most likely to be diagnosed after they had metastasized (stage 4).
  • The 3-year survival for lung cancer at stage 4 is only 5%. But 3-year survival rises to 71% for lung cancer cases diagnosed at stage 1.
  • Organized lung cancer screening in Canada over 20 years could lead to 7,000 to 17,000 fewer stage 4 diagnoses and 5,000 to 11,100 fewer deaths.
  • About 86% of lung cancer cases are due to modifiable risk factors, making it one of the most preventable cancers in Canada.
  • People of low income are more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage than people of high income.
  • Lung cancer stigma, whether real or perceived, can be a barrier to high-quality care and support. Efforts to reduce stigma are key to improving clinical care and quality of life for people diagnosed with the disease.


The full report, along with supporting resources, can be found at

To address the burden of lung cancer in Canada, coordinated action is required to enhance lung cancer prevention efforts, implement organized screening, improve treatment, ensure equitable access to cessation support and cancer treatment, increase lung cancer research, reduce lung cancer stigma and understand lung cancer statistical trends.

For any questions, please email

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