© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
This year, an estimated 41,380 adults (29,620 men and 11,760 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 than women. Cancer of the oral cavity ranks as the eighth most common cancer among men and is increasing, probably because of infection with a virus called HPV (see Risk Factors).
The most common sites for cancer in the oral cavity are the tongue, the tonsils, oropharynx, and gums, and floor of the mouth.
It is estimated that 7,890 deaths (5,500 men and 2,390 women) from these two diseases will occur this year. For all stages and sites combined, about 84% of patients survive at least one year after diagnosis. The overall five-year survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) of people with oral and oropharyngeal cancer is 62%, and the ten-year survival rate is 51%. However, survival rates for oral and oropharyngeal cancer vary widely depending on the original location, whether HPV is a risk factor, and the extent of the disease.
Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Because survival statistics are often measured in multi-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2013.