Oral cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of head and neck cancer, 2014, UK

Proportion of all cases

Percentage head and neck cancer is of total cancer cases, 2014, UK

Age

Peak rate of head and neck cancer cases, 2012-2014, UK

 

Trend over time

Change in head and neck cancer incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

Head and neck cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the UK (2014), accounting for 3% of all new cases. In males, it is the fourth most common cancer in the UK (4% of all male cases), whilst it is the 12th most common cancer in females in the UK (2% of all new cases).[1-4]

In 2014, there were 11,449 new cases of head and neck cancer in the UK: 7,918 (69%) in males and 3,531 (31%) in females, giving a male:female ratio of around 22:10.[1-4] The crude incidence rate shows that there are 25 new head and neck cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 11 for every 100,000 females.

For both sexes, the European age-standardised incidence rates (AS rates) are significantly higher in Scotland compared with England. For males only, rates are also significantly higher in Wales compared with England.[1-4] Rates do not differ significantly between the other constituent countries of the UK for either sex.

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-C32), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2014

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 6,398 448 852 220 7,918
Crude Rate 23.9 29.4 32.8 24.4 24.9
AS Rate 27.2 30.7 35.3 30.7 28.1
AS Rate - 95% LCL 26.5 27.9 32.9 26.6 27.5
AS Rate - 95% UCL 27.8 33.6 37.6 34.7 28.7
Female Cases 2,859 195 387 90 3,531
Crude Rate 10.4 12.4 14.1 9.6 10.8
AS Rate 10.8 11.8 13.9 10.9 11.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 10.4 10.2 12.5 8.6 10.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 11.2 13.5 15.3 13.1 11.5
Persons Cases 9,257 643 1,239 310 11,449
Crude Rate 17.0 20.8 23.2 16.8 17.7
AS Rate 18.5 20.7 23.9 20.0 19.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 18.2 19.1 22.6 17.8 18.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 18.9 22.3 25.3 22.2 19.5

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate
 

For head and neck cancer, like most cancer types, differences between countries largely reflect risk factor prevalence in years past.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 2014, ICD-10 C00-C14, C30-C32

Last reviewed:

Head and neck cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older males and females. In the UK in 2012-2014, on average each year half (50%) cases were diagnosed in people aged 65 and over.[1-4]

For males, age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 35-39, peak in the 70-74 age group, and subsequently drop before rising again to plateau in the 85-89 and 90+ age groups. For females, age-specific incidence rates rise gradually from around age 35-39, with the highest rate in the 90+ age group. Incidence rates are higher for males than for females aged 35-39 and over (this gap is not significant in younger age groups), and this gap is widest in the 55-59 age group, when the male: female incidence ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 28:10.[1-4]

Head and Neck Cancer (C00- C14, C30-C32), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2012-2014

For head and neck cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. This largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2012-2014, ICD-10 C00- C14, C30-C32

Last reviewed:

Head and neck cancer incidence rates have increased by 30% in males and females combined in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] This includes a larger overall increase for females than males. Head and neck cancer incidence rates increased by 9% (persons) in Great Britain between 1979-1981 and 1991-1993.[1-3]

For females, European age-standardised (AS) incidence rates increased by 40% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014. For males rates increased by 20% in this period.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2003-2005 and 2012-2014), head and neck cancer AS incidence rates have increased by 23% in males and females combined, with a larger increased in females (27%) than in males (19%).[1-4]

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-C32), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2014

Head and neck cancer incidence rates in males have increased overall for most of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1990s, but rates in males aged 70-79 and 80+ have remained stable.[1-4] The largest increase was for males aged 50-59, with rates increasing by 42% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014. 

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-C32), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Males, UK, 1993-2014

In females, head and neck cancer incidence rates have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] The largest increase was in females aged 50-59, with rates increasing by 66% between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014.

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-C32), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Females, UK, 1993-2014

For head and neck cancer, like most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts. 

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/ 
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2014, ICD-10 C00-C14, C30-C32

Last reviewed:

Overall stage at diagnosis

A moderate proportion (79%) of head and neck cancer patients in Northern Ireland have a stage at diagnosis recorded.[1]

Head and neck cancer patients diagnosed with a known stage are most commonly diagnosed at stage IV (45%). More head and neck cancer patients with a known stage are diagnosed at a late stage (62% are diagnosed at stage III or IV), than an early stage (38% are diagnosed at stage I or II).[1]

The stage distribution for each cancer type will reflect many factors including how the cancer type develops, the way symptoms appear, public awareness of symptoms, how quickly a person goes to see their doctor and how quickly the cancer is recognised and diagnosed by a doctor. It might also relate to whether a national screening programme that can detect early stage disease exists for that cancer type, along with the extent of uptake of that programme.

A cancer type associated with a large proportion of early stage diagnoses could be one that is more likely to be symptomatic at an earlier stage of development, with recognisable symptoms rather than more generic ones.

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-C32), Proportion of Cases Diagnosed at Each Stage, All Ages, Northern Ireland 2010-2014

References

  1. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queens University Belfast, Incidence by stage 2010-2014. Belfast: NICR; 2016.

About this data

Data is for: Northern Ireland 2010-2014, ICD10 C00-C14, C30-C32

Last reviewed:

In males, the largest proportion of head and neck cancer cases occur in the larynx, with smaller proportions in the tonsils, and slightly smaller proportions in the base of the tongue and floor of the mouth (2010-2012).[1-4]

In females, the largest proportion of head and neck cancer cases occurs in the larynx, with slightly smaller proportions in the tonsils, parotid gland, palate and gum (2010-2012).[1-4]

The proportions of cases in the larynx, tonsils, and base of the tongue are higher in males (26.2%, 12.6% and 8.0%, respectively) than females (13.1%, 9.7% and 5.2%, respectively). In the parotid gland and gum, the proportions are higher in females (6.9% and 5.4%, respectively) than males (4.1% and 2.6%, respectively), and there are no marked sex differences in the other sites of head and neck cancer.[1-4]

A large proportion of cases did not have the specific site recorded in cancer registry data, or overlapped more than one part.[1-4]

Infographic showing head and neck cancers by anatomical site

Cases and percentages may not sum due to rounding

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, April 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerInformation/.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 2010-2012, Head and Neck cancer, ICD-10 C00-C14, C30-C32

Last reviewed:

Oral cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 33% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 20 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.[1] This includes a larger increase for males than for females.

For males, oral cancer European age-standardised (AS) incidence rates in the UK are projected to rise by 33% between 2014 and 2035, to 28 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1] For females, rates are projected to rise by 32% between 2014 and 2035, to 13 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1]

Oral cancer (C00-C06, C09-C10, C12-C14), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

It is projected that 13,060 cases of oral cancer (8,676 in males, 4,385 in females) will be diagnosed in the UK in 2035.

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected), ICD-10 C00-C06, C09-C10, C12-C14

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as 'increase' or 'decrease' if there is any difference between the point estimates.

Last reviewed:

The lifetime risk of developing laryngeal cancer is around 1 in 175 for men and around 1 in 800 for women, in 2012 in the UK.[1]

The lifetime risk of developing oral cancer is 1 in 75 for men and around 1 in 150 for women, in 2012 in the UK.[1]

The lifetime risks for laryngeal and oral cancers have been calculated to account for the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of laryngeal cancer or oral cancer over the course of their lifetime (‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method).[2]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on data provided by the Office of National Statistics, ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, December 2013 to July 2014.
  2. Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer, 2011. 105(3): p. 460-5.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2012, ICD-10 C00-C06, C09-C10, C12-C14 (oral cancer) and C32 (laryngeal cancer).

Last reviewed:

There is evidence for an association between head and neck cancer incidence and deprivation in England.[1] The strength of the association varies for males and females between head and neck cancer subtypes. European age-standardised head and neck cancer incidence rates are 81-188% higher for males living in the most deprived areas in England compared with the least deprived, and 45-288% higher for females living in the most deprived areas in England compared with the least deprived, as shown for people diagnosed with head and neck cancer during 2006-2010.[1]

Head and Neck Cancer Subtypes European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates by Deprivation Quintile, Males, England, 2006-2010

Head and Neck Cancer Subtypes European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates by Deprivation Quintile, Females, England, 2006-2010

The estimated deprivation gradient in oral and laryngeal cancer incidence for males and females living in the most and least deprived areas in England has not changed in the period 1996-2010. The estimated deprivation gradient in oropharyngeal cancer incidence between people living in the most and least deprived areas in England has widened for females in the period 1996-2010, but has not changed for males.[1] It is estimated that there would have been around 330-650 fewer head and neck cancer cases each year in England during 2006-2010 if all people experienced the same incidence rates as the least deprived.[1]

References

  1. Cancer Research UK and National Cancer Intelligence Network. Cancer by deprivation in England: Incidence, 1996-2010, Mortality, 1997-2011. London: NCIN; 2014.

About this data

Data is for England, 2006-2010, Head and Neck cancer, ICD-10 codes (C01 and C09-C10, C02-C04 and C32)

Last reviewed:

Age-standardised rates for White males with oral cancer (ICD-10 C00-C08 only) range from 6.6 to 7.0 per 100,000. Rates for Asian males are similar, ranging from 4.1 to 7.1 per 100,000, whereas the rates for Black males are significantly lower, ranging from 2.8 to 5.7 per 100,000. For females there is a different pattern - the age-standardised rates for White females range from 3.4 to 3.6 per 100,000. Rates for Asian females are significantly higher, ranging from 4.0 to 7.1 per 100,000, whereas the rates for Black females are significantly lower, ranging from 1.2 to 2.9 per 100,000.[1]

Ranges are given because of the analysis methodology used to account for missing and unknown data. For mouth cancer, 14,963 cases were identified; 19% had no known ethnicity.

Last reviewed:

In the UK more than 38,600 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with head and neck cancer (includes the lip, oral cavity, pharynx, nasal cavity, middle ear, sinuses and larynx, ICD-10 codes C00-C14, C30-C32).[1

Head and Neck Cancer (C00-C14, C30-32), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 4,833 17,008 26,619
Female 2,088 7,521 12,039
Persons 6,921 24,529 38,658

Worldwide, it is estimated that almost 900,000 cancer patients of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx excluding the nasopharynx (C00-C08, C09-C10,C12-14) were still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.[2]

Last reviewed:

Lip and oral cavity cancer (C00-C08) is the 15th most common cancer in Europe, with around 61,400 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total). Around 34,100 cases of other pharyngeal cancer (C09-C10 and C12-C14) were diagnosed in Europe in 2012, accounting for 1% of total cancer cases. In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised incidence rates for lip and oral cavity cancer are in Hungary for both men and women; the lowest rates are in Greece for men and Cyprus for women. UK lip and oral cavity cancer incidence rates are estimated to be the 16th lowest in males in Europe, and 11th highest in females. Incidence rates for other pharyngeal cancer are highest in Hungary for both men and women; the lowest rates are in Cyprus for both men and women. UK other pharyngeal cancer incidence rates are estimated to be the 15th lowest in males in Europe, and 13th highest in females.[1] These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.[2]

Lip and oral cavity cancer (C00-C08) is the 15th most common cancer worldwide, with more than 300,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total). More than 142,000 cases of other pharyngeal cancer (C09-C10 and C12-C14) were diagnosed worldwide in 2012, accounting for 1% of total cancer cases. Lip and oral cavity cancer incidence rates are highest in Melanesia and lowest in Western Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide. Incidence rates of other pharyngeal cancer are highest in Western Europe and lowest in Western Africa.[1]

Variation between countries may reflect different prevalence of risk factors, use of screening, and diagnostic methods.

References

  1. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  2. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
Last reviewed:

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