Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal 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 laryngeal and hypopharyngeal 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.

Laryngeal cancer

Laryngeal cancer is a common type of head and neck cancer. This year, an estimated 12,470 adults (9,820 men and 2,650 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. The incidence rates of this disease are decreasing around 2% to 3% annually. This is thought to be the result of fewer people smoking. In the United States, Black men are more likely to develop and die from laryngeal cancer, compared with White men. It is also more common in men than in women. Worldwide, an estimated 184,615 people were diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2020.

It is estimated that 3,820 deaths (3,070 men and 750 women) from this disease will occur in the United States this year. Like the incidence rate, the death rate is decreasing around 2% to 3% each year. In 2020, an estimated 99,840 people worldwide died from laryngeal cancer.

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. In the United States, the 5-year survival rate for laryngeal cancer is 61%.

More than half of patients (52%) are diagnosed and treated before the cancer has spread outside the larynx. In those cases, the 5-year survival rate is 78%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 46%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 34%. 

However, the 5-year survival rate also depends on the location of the cancer (glottis, supraglottis, or subglottis, as explained in the Introduction) and the stage. 

  • Glottis. Approximately 60% of laryngeal cancer is found in the glottis. The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is 76%. If the cancer is only located in the larynx (localized cancer), the 5-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes (regional cancer), the 5-year survival rate is 49%. When the cancer is in the most advanced stage and has spread to a distant part of the body (distant cancer), the survival rate is 43%.
  • Supraglottis. Approximately 35% of laryngeal cancer is found in the supraglottis. The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is 46%. If the cancer is localized in the larynx, the 5-year survival rate is 61%. If the cancer is regional, the 5-year survival rate is 47%. The 5-year survival rate for distant cancer of the supraglottis is 31%. 
  • Subglottis. Rarely, cancer will start in the subglottis. The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is 52%. If the cancer is localized in the larynx, the 5-year survival rate is 63%. If the cancer is regional, the 5-year survival rate is 35%. At its distant stage, the 5-year survival rate is 43%. 

Hypopharyngeal cancer

Each year, an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with hypopharyngeal cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 84,254 people were diagnosed with hypopharyngeal cancer in 2020.

In 2020, an estimated 38,599 people worldwide died from hypopharyngeal cancer.

Survival rates for hypopharyngeal cancer vary based on a variety of factors, particularly the stage. In the United States, the 5-year survival rate for hypopharyngeal cancer is 32%. If the cancer is found at an early, localized stage, the 5-year survival rate of people with hypopharyngeal cancer is 52%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 34%. If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 23%. Hypopharyngeal cancer is often found at a more advanced stage because early symptoms often do not occur. Laryngeal cancer often will cause hoarseness or coughing up blood, which can lead to an earlier diagnosis.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal 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 laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer are 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 (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2022, the ACS website, the International Agency for Research on Cancer website, the National Cancer Institute website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed January 2022.) 

The next section in this guide is Medical IllustrationsIt offers drawings of body parts often affected by laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.