Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer - Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. You will also learn some general information on surviving these diseases. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu.

This year, an estimated 48,330 adults (34,780 men and 13,550 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Rates of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are more than twice as high in men as in women. Cancer of the oral cavity ranks as the eighth most common cancer among men. This number of people with these types of cancer is increasing, probably because of infection with a virus called HPV (see the Risk Factors and Prevention section for more information).

It is estimated that 9,570 deaths (6,910 men and 2,660 women) from these 2 diseases 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 oral or oropharyngeal cancer is 63%. The 10-year survival rate is 52%.

If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 83%. About 31% of cases are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 62%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 38%. However, survival rates for oral and oropharyngeal cancer vary widely depending on the original location, whether the cancer is related to HPV, and the extent of the disease.

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes 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 oral or oropharyngeal 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.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by these diseases. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.