Head and Neck Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving these diseases. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Head and neck cancer accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the United States.

This year, an estimated 65,410 people (48,000 men and 17,410 women) will develop head and neck cancer. While younger people can develop the disease, most people are older than 50 when they are diagnosed.

It is estimated that 14,620 deaths (10,980 men and 3,640 women) from head and neck cancer 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 head and neck cancer varies and depends on several factors. Visit the individual section for a specific type of head and neck cancer for more information about survival statistics (see the Introduction for a complete list.)

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with head and neck cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with these types of cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2019, and the National Cancer Institute (January 2019).

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by head and neck cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.