The Cancer Society says people need to be much more aware of the symptoms and dangers of lung cancer if the survival rate is to be improved.
The society has worked with Pfizer to release a report on New Zealand's leading cancer killer.
Almost 2000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with lung cancer a year, while more than 1600 die from it.
The report says only 10 percent of New Zealanders diagnosed with the cancer will be alive five years later, and the survival rate is far worse for Maori.
It said early detection helps, but public awareness is lower than for other less deadly cancers.