Lung cancer preventability statistics

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK.

Lung cancer incidence

In 2013, 45,372 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed. Of these cancer cases, 24,400 were in men and 20,972 were in women.

Lung cancer mortality

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. In 2013, there were 35,497 deaths from lung cancer. Of these deaths, 19,498 were men and 15,999 were women.

Proportion preventable

By far the most important thing for reducing risk of lung cancer is not smoking. But scientists also estimate the following proportion of lung cancer cases could be prevented in the UK through healthy changes:

Lifestyle factor Increase or decrease risk? Approximate % preventable
Fruit Decrease 33

There is also convincing evidence that supplements containing beta-carotene increase risk of lung cancer. This is one of the reasons WCRF UK recommends not using supplements to protect against cancer.

Find out more about preventability estimates or, for more detailed information, download appendix A of our policy report.


The figures come from the following sources: incidence for EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland; mortality for England and WalesScotland and Northern Ireland.