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Lung cancer

In the Nordic countries, lung cancer (pulmonary cancer) is one of the most common forms of cancer. In Norway, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common cancer in women.

The absolute numbers are increasing for both sexes, most notably for women, where an annual increase of 5 % is observed.

Lung cancers are primarily divided into:

  • non-small cell lung carcinoma (about 85%)
  • small cell lung carcinoma (about 15%)

Together, non-small cell lung carcinoma and small-cell carcinoma constitute about 97% of all carcinomas in the lungs. They have a strong positive correlation with smoking. 

There are several subtypes of non-small cell lung cancers, the most common ones are: 

  • adenocarcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • large cell carcinoma

Carcinoid tumors, sarcomas and carcinomas of the salivary gland type are rare and not related to smoking. Mesotheliomas are tumors originating from the pleura and in rare cases from the peritoneum.


Compared to other cancers, lung and bronchus cancer is fairly common and represents 13.3% of all new cancer cases in the United States. Lung and bronchus cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74 and is more common in men than women. Approximately 6.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer at some point during their lifetime.

In 2016, it was estimated to be 224,390 new cases of lung and bronchus cancer in the United States. (30)


Age-specific incidence of lung cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of lung cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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