Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer each year and some general survival information. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 45,780 adults (32,670 men and 13,110 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 women. Cancer of the oral cavity ranks as the eighth most common cancer among men. This cancer is increasing, probably because of infection with a virus called HPV (see the Risk Factors section for more information).

It is estimated that 8,650 deaths (6,010 men and 2,640 women) from these two diseases will occur this year. The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is found. The five-year survival rate of people with oral or oropharyngeal cancer is 63%, and the ten-year survival rate is 51%.

 If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 61%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the five-year survival rate is 37%. However, survival rates for oral and oropharyngeal cancer vary widely depending on the original location, whether the person has HPV, 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, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. 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 2015.

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