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Lung Cancer. 2018 Aug;122:138-145. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

Substantial nation-wide improvement in lung cancer relative survival in Norway from 2000 to 2016.

Author information

Section of Oncology, Drammen Hospital, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen, Norway. Electronic address:
The Cancer Clinic, St. Olav's Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Pulmonology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Dept of Pulmonology and Dept of Oncology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
Department of Pulmonology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



There have been significant changes in both diagnostic procedures and therapy for lung cancer since the beginning of the millennium. National incidence and survival data from 2000 through 2016 are studied.


National data on cancer incidence and vital status are virtually complete. Changes in incidence and survival are described by absolute numbers, percentages, and calculation of relative survival (period analysis).


A total of 44,825 individuals were diagnosed with lung cancer in Norway in the study period. The number of incident cases increased with 49% whereas the prevalence increased with 136% from 2000 to 2016. Age-standardised rates rose markedly for women and levelled off for men. In 2016, adenocarcinoma accounted for about 50% of all lung cancers, slightly more for women than for men. The entity "NSCLC not otherwise specified" declined from 24% to 13%, and the fraction of patients with metastatic disease decreased from 54% to 46% during the period, for both sexes combined. The overall median survival time doubled for women and men, reaching 14.3 months and 11.4 months, respectively. For patients with metastatic disease, median survival time showed a small increase but remained less than 6 months. The overall 5-year relative survival increased from 16% to 26% in women and from 16% to 22% in men. The corresponding improvements for the subgroup of non-surgically treated cases with localised disease, were up from 25% to more than 40% in females, and from 10% to almost 40% in males.


There have been notable changes in incidence patterns and a remarkable improvement in survival for lung cancer over the last 17 years, most markedly for patients without distant metastases at the time of diagnosis. Hopefully, survival will improve even more when immunotherapy is implemented.


Epidemiology; Incidence; Lung cancer; Registry; Survival

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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