Statistics at a Glance

At a Glance

Estimated New Cases in 2018 51,540

% of All New Cancer Cases 3.0%

Estimated Deaths in 2018 10,030

% of All Cancer Deaths 1.6%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.8% 2008-2014
Year New Cases - SEER 9 New Cases - SEER 13 Deaths - U.S. Percent Surviving 5 Years - SEER 9
1975 13.2 - 4.3 52.7%
1976 13.3 - 4.2 53.6%
1977 12.7 - 4.3 51.3%
1978 13.4 - 4.2 53.9%
1979 14.0 - 4.2 52.4%
1980 13.3 - 4.2 53.6%
1981 13.6 - 4.1 52.5%
1982 13.3 - 4.0 50.4%
1983 13.3 - 3.9 52.1%
1984 13.5 - 3.9 53.1%
1985 13.3 - 3.8 54.4%
1986 12.5 - 3.7 54.7%
1987 13.2 - 3.5 55.4%
1988 12.1 - 3.6 52.0%
1989 12.1 - 3.5 53.2%
1990 12.7 - 3.6 57.0%
1991 12.2 - 3.5 54.7%
1992 12.0 11.7 3.3 54.4%
1993 12.4 11.9 3.3 55.4%
1994 11.7 11.4 3.2 59.1%
1995 11.5 11.2 3.2 58.5%
1996 11.8 11.5 3.0 57.7%
1997 11.5 11.4 3.0 58.6%
1998 11.2 11.1 3.0 57.1%
1999 10.6 10.4 2.7 58.9%
2000 10.8 10.6 2.7 62.0%
2001 10.8 10.5 2.7 60.0%
2002 11.1 10.7 2.7 61.7%
2003 10.5 10.2 2.6 65.1%
2004 10.9 10.4 2.6 64.9%
2005 10.7 10.3 2.5 63.9%
2006 10.8 10.2 2.5 65.0%
2007 10.8 10.4 2.5 66.4%
2008 11.0 10.7 2.5 66.4%
2009 11.1 10.7 2.4 67.2%
2010 11.0 10.5 2.5 68.8%
2011 11.3 10.7 2.5 -
2012 11.2 10.7 2.5 -
2013 11.5 11.0 2.4 -
2014 11.5 10.8 2.5 -
2015 11.8 11.0 2.5 -

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer was 11.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 2.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2011-2015 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.2 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with oral cavity and pharynx cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2013-2015 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2015, there were an estimated 359,718 people living with oral cavity and pharynx cancer in the United States.

Survival Statistics

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer?

Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

64.8%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.8%

Based on data from SEER 18 2008-2014. Gray figures represent those who have died from oral cavity and pharynx cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

Additional Information

Survival by Stage

Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier oral cavity and pharynx cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For oral cavity and pharynx cancer, 29.3% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized oral cavity and pharynx cancer is 83.7%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer
Stage Percent of Cases 5-Year Relative Survival
Localized
Confined to Primary Site
29% 83.7%
Regional
Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
47% 65.0%
Distant
Cancer has Metastasized
20% 39.1%
Unknown
Unstaged
4% 49.2%

SEER 18 2008-2014, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000

Additional Information

Number of New Cases and Deaths

How Common Is This Cancer?

Rank Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2018
Estimated
Deaths 2018
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 266,120 40,920
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 234,030 154,050
3. Prostate Cancer 164,690 29,430
4. Colorectal Cancer 140,250 50,630
5. Melanoma of the Skin 91,270 9,320
6. Bladder Cancer 81,190 17,240
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 74,680 19,910
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 65,340 14,970
9. Uterine Cancer 63,230 11,350
10. Leukemia 60,300 24,370
- - -
Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer 51,540 10,030

Oral cavity and pharynx cancer represents 3.0% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

3.0%

In 2018, it is estimated that there will be 51,540 new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer and an estimated 10,030 people will die of this disease.

Who Gets This Cancer?

Oral cancer is more common in men than women, among those with a history of tobacco or heavy alcohol use, and individuals infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). The number of new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer was 11.3 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011-2015 cases.

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer
Males
All Races 17.1
White 18.0
Black 14.0
Asian/Pacific Islander 11.1
American Indian/Alaska Native 12.3
Hispanic 9.6
Non-Hispanic 18.4
Females
All Races 6.3
White 6.5
Black 5.1
Asian/Pacific Islander 5.1
American Indian/Alaska Native 6.1
Hispanic 3.9
Non-Hispanic 6.7

SEER 18 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<20 0.5%
20-34 1.9%
35-44 4.5%
45-54 17.5%
55-64 30.8%
65-74 24.5%
75-84 14.0%
>84 6.3%

Oral cavity and pharynx cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 55-64.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

63

SEER 18 2011-2015, All Races, Both Sexes

Who Dies From This Cancer?

For oral cancer, death rates are higher among males, particularly those of African American descent. The number of deaths was 2.5 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011-2015 deaths.

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer
Males
All Races 3.9
White 3.8
Black 4.8
Asian/Pacific Islander 3.0
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.7
Hispanic 2.4
Non-Hispanic 4.0
Females
All Races 1.3
White 1.3
Black 1.3
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.1
American Indian/Alaska Native 1.0
Hispanic 0.8
Non-Hispanic 1.4

U.S. 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<20 0.1%
20-34 0.8%
35-44 2.1%
45-54 12.1%
55-64 26.9%
65-74 25.7%
75-84 19.8%
>84 12.6%

The percent of oral cavity and pharynx cancer deaths is highest among people aged 55-64.

Median Age
At Death

67

U.S. 2011-2015, All Races, Both Sexes

Trends in Rates

Changes Over Time

Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.

Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new oral cavity and pharynx cancer cases have been rising on average 0.7% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been stable over 2006-2015. 5-year survival trends are shown below.

More About This Cancer

Cancer and the Oral Cavity and Pharynx

Figure: Oral Cavity Anatomy

Figure: Anatomy of the oral cavity; drawing shows the lip, hard palate, soft palate, retromolar trigone, front two-thirds of the tongue, gingiva, buccal mucosa, and floor of mouth. Also shown are the teeth, uvula, and tonsil.

Did You Know? Video Series

Most lip and oral cavity cancers start in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells that line the lips and oral cavity. These are called squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer cells may spread into deeper tissue as the cancer grows. Squamous cell carcinoma usually develops in areas of leukoplakia (white patches of cells that do not rub off).

Lip and oral cavity cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.

Additional Information

More Information

Here are some resources for learning more about oral cancer.

References

All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2018.

Suggested Citation

All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Oral Cavity and Pharynx Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/oralcav.html

These stat facts focus on population statistics that are based on the U.S. population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.

The statistics presented in these stat facts are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.

Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.