Head and Neck

Head and Neck Cancer

  • In the year 2000, head and neck cancer was the 8th leading cause of cancer death worldwide1
  • Head and neck cancers account for an estimated 4% of all cancers in the United States (US)2, with oral cavity and pharynx cancer representing 3% of all new US cancer cases3
  • Head and neck cancers are more than two times as common in men than women 1,2
  • Head and neck cancers are diagnosed more often in people over the age of 50 years in comparison to younger people2
  • Based on 2012-2016 cases and deaths, the number of new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer was 11.3 per 100,000 men and women annually3
  • Oral cancer is more common among those with a history of tobacco use, heavy alcohol use and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection3
  • Incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers is comparable among black and white ethnicities in the US4
  • Estimated age-standardized incidence/mortality rates for cancers of the lip and oral cavity in males and females was 7.0/2.3 and 2.6/0.6 per 100,000 people annually, with higher rates noted in more developed regions5

  • Other cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx do not have available survival rates by stage, but do have overall relative 5-year survival rates3


  1. Ragin CCR, Modugno F, Gollin SM. The Epidemiology and risk factors of head and neck cancer: a focus on human papillomavirus. J Dent Res. 2007;86(2):104-114.
  2. National Institute of National Cancer Institute. Head and Neck. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/head-neck-fact-sheet. Reviewed: March 2017. Accessed June 30, 2019.
  3. National Institute of National Cancer Institute. Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancers. Available at: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/oralcav.html. Accessed June 2019.
  4. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers. Last Revised: January, 2019. Accessed: June 30, 2019. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  5. Gupta B, Johnson NW, Kumar N. Global epidemiology of head and neck cancers: A continuing challenge. Oncology. 2016;91(1):13-23.