ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be 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, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.
Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with these cancers and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without these cancers.
Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with laryngeal or hypopharyngeal are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.
How many people are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer?
Laryngeal cancer is a common type of head and neck cancer. In 2023, an estimated 12,380 adults (9,900 men and 2,480 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. The incidence rates of this disease are decreasing by 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 in 2023. For the past decade, the death rate has been decreasing by 2% to 3% each year. In 2020, an estimated 99,840 people worldwide died from laryngeal cancer.
What is the survival rate for laryngeal cancer?
The 5-year relative survival rate for laryngeal cancer in the United States is 61%.
The survival rates for laryngeal cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.
More than half of patients (52%) are diagnosed and treated before the cancer has spread outside the larynx. In those cases, the 5-year relative survival rate is 78%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 46%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 34%.
However, the 5-year relative 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 relative survival rate for this cancer is 77%. If the cancer is only located in the larynx (localized cancer), the 5-year relative survival rate is 84%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes (regional cancer), the 5-year relative survival rate is 52%. When the cancer is in the most advanced stage and has spread to a distant part of the body (distant cancer), the relative survival rate is 45%.
Supraglottis. Approximately 35% of laryngeal cancer is found in the supraglottis. The 5-year relative survival rate for this cancer is 45%. If the cancer is localized in the larynx, the 5-year relative survival rate is 61%. If the cancer is regional, the 5-year relative survival rate is 46%. The 5-year relative survival rate for distant cancer of the supraglottis is 30%.
Subglottis. Rarely, cancer will start in the subglottis. The 5-year relative survival rate for this cancer is 49%. If the cancer is localized in the larynx, the 5-year relative survival rate is 59%. If the cancer is regional, the 5-year relative survival rate is 38%. At its distant stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 44%.
How many people are diagnosed with 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.
What is the survival rate for hypopharyngeal cancer?
Like laryngeal cancer, the survival rates for hypopharyngeal cancer vary based on the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, how well the treatment plan works, and other factors.
The 5-year relative survival rate for hypopharyngeal cancer in the United States is 37%.
If the cancer is found at an early, localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate of people with hypopharyngeal cancer is 61%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 39%. If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 28%. 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.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how laryngeal or hypopharyngeal 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 (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, 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 February 2023.)
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It 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.