Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer: Statistics

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have 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 42,440 adults (30,220 men and 12,220 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 and is increasing, probably because of infection with a virus called HPV (see the Risk Factors section for more information).

It is estimated that 8,390 deaths (5,730 men and 2,660 women) from these two diseases will occur this year. For all stages and sites combined, about 83% of patients survive at least one year after diagnosis. The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. The five-year survival rate of people with oral or 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 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, 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 2014.

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