Head and Neck Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer. You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Head and neck cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the United States. This year, an estimated 61,760 people (45,330 men and 16,430 women) will develop head and neck cancer.

It is estimated that 13,190 deaths (9,800 men and 3,390 women) 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 of people with head and neck cancer varies and depends on several factors. Check the individual section describing a specific type of head and neck cancer for more information about survival statistics (see the Overview for a complete list.)

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. Estimates come from data based on thousands of people with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with head and neck cancer. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, 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 on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.