Head and Neck Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer. You will read general information on surviving these diseases. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Head and neck cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the United States. This year, an estimated 63,030 people (46,290 men and 16,740 women) will develop head and neck cancer. While younger people can develop the disease, most people are over age 50 when they are diagnosed.

It is estimated that 13,360 deaths (9,940 men and 3,420 women) from head and neck cancer will occur this year.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with head and neck cancer varies and depends on several factors. Visit the individual section for a specific type of head and neck cancer for more information about survival statistics (see the Introduction for a complete list.)

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with head and neck cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with these types of cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017, and the National Cancer Institute.

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors and Prevention. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing this type of cancer and ways to help reduce your risk. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.