Part of: Ill Health and Disability,Cancer

Related to: Digestive Cancers - Bowel (Colorectal) Cancer and Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer , Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Skin Cancer (Melanoma), Prostate Cancer, [[Aging Population]], Births and Fertility, Mental Health and Illness, [[Health Checks]], Major Causes of Mortality, Smoking, End of Life Care

Key Facts

  • Lung cancer is the only major cancer which has been decreasing over time although still affects 30 people in 100,000. Local rates are lower than those for national, regional and similar local authorities.
  • premature deaths (in terms of potential years of life lost) from malignant neoplasm (cancer) of the trachea, bronchus and lung is significantly lower in B&NES CCG compared to the national average.


Cancer that begins in the lungs is called primary lung cancer. (Secondary lung cancer begins in another part of the body and spreads to the lungs). Primary lung cancer is classified by the type of cells in which the cancer starts; non-small cell lung cancer (88% of cases) and small cell lung cancer (12% of cases). Small cell lung cancer is more aggressive and usually spreads faster than non-small cell lung cancer. 1

What does the data say? 2

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer (after breast cancer) in England and Wales. An estimated 40,800 new cases are diagnosed every year.

Lung cancer mainly affects older people. It is rare in people under 40 years old, but the rates of lung cancer rise sharply with age. Lung cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people who are 70–74 years old.

Smoking causes 85–90% of lung cancers. People who smoke are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than people who have never smoked.

Lung cancer incidence and mortality in Bath and North East Somerset are lower than nationally, regionally and comparator areas and decreasing in line with comparator areas:

  • Lung cancer is one of the only major cancers where incidence is decreasing, largely due to the reduction in smoking rates.
  • Incidence decreased from a rate of 49.15 per 100,000 in 1993 to a rate of 30.12 per 100,000 in 2009. 3
  • mortality from a rate of 43.26 per 100,000 (104) in 1993 to a rate of in 26.14 per 100,000 (71) in 2010. 4

Lung cancer-mortality rates-line graph

Figure 1: Directly age standardised rate of lung cancer incidence in Bath & NE Somerset and comparator areas (1993 to 2009)

In terms of potential Years of Life Lost (YLL), B&NES CCG has a significantly lower rate of annual years of life lost to malignant neoplasm (cancer) of trachea, bronchus and lung compared to comparable rate for England - see Major Causes of Mortality (Premature Mortality) for further information.

What can we realistically change?

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance