A study has been made of 8781 patients with bronchial carcinoma who were operated on by seven surgeons in England during the years 1949-80. There were 3865 pneumonectomies, 3790 lobectomies, and 1126 thoracotomies. During this period the operative mortality has fallen. Neither the resection rate nor the proportion of lobectomies bears any relation to the survival rate in any series. There has been remarkable similarity between the various survival rates in that the difference at five years was only 1.3% (25.5-26.8%) and at 10 years 4.2% (13.6-17.8%). These figures are reflected in reports published worldwide, where there is also great similarity between the results. If the improvement in operative mortality is excluded, there has been no improvement in the survival rates in the last thirty years.