Head and Neck Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2022

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 66,470 people (48,520 men and 17,950 women) will be diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 562,328 people were diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2020.

It is estimated that 15,050 deaths (10,940 men and 4,110 women) from head and neck cancer will occur in the United States this year. In 2020, an estimated 277,597 people worldwide died from the disease.

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. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how head and neck cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 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 2022, and the National Cancer Institute website. (All sources accessed January 2022.)

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.