Head and Neck Cancer Statistics
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- While statistics are not available for all head and neck cancer types, in 2020, 53,260 diagnoses of oral cavity/oropharyngeal cancer and 12,370 of laryngeal cancer, with 10,750 and 3,750 deaths respectively, are expected.
- In Texas in 2020, 3,464 people are expected to be diagnosed with oral cavity/pharynx cancer and 955 with larynx cancer, resulting in 782 deaths and 293 deaths, respectively.
- Head and neck cancers comprise about 4 percent of U.S. cancer cases and develop more frequently in men than women.
- About 75 percent of cases of head and neck cancers are associated with the use of tobacco and alcohol.
Head and Neck Cancer Risk Factors
- Age: Adults over the age of 40 are more likely to face a head and neck cancer diagnosis.
- Gender: Men are at least twice as likely to develop head and neck cancers as women, although over the last several decades the incidence in women has been increasing.
- HPV Infection: The human papillomavirus (HPV) increases risk for some forms of head and neck cancers and is linked to about two-thirds of oropharyngeal cancers.
- Radiation: Exposure to the head and neck from radiation treatment can increase risk.
- Tobacco: Tobacco use increases risk for all head and neck cancers, especially oral cavity, hypopharynx, oropharynx, and larynx.
- Alcohol: Those who consume alcohol face a greater risk of head and neck cancers.
- Epstein-Barr Virus Infection: Epstein-Barr virus infection increases risk of nasopharyngeal and salivary gland cancer.
- Health Conditions: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD), graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), compromised immune systems, Fanconi anemia, and dyskeratosis congenita may also increase the risk of head and neck cancers.
- Lifestyle Factors: Occupational exposure to wood dust, asbestos, paint fumes, and formaldehyde; poor oral health; poor nutrition; prolonged sun exposure; marijuana use; and consumption of paan and certain preserved or salted foods is associated with head and neck cancer.
Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms And Signs
It is important to consult a physician if any of the following symptoms are experienced on a persistent basis.
- Swelling of the jaw, eyes, or chin
- Ringing of ears
- Persistent headaches
- Change in voice or hoarseness
- Pain in the throat, mouth, ear, face, upper teeth, chin, jaw, or neck area
- Chronic sore throat or blocked sinuses
- White or red patch in mouth
- Face muscle numbness or paralysis
- Ear infection or sinus infections resistant to treatment
- Trouble swallowing, chewing, moving jaw or tongue, hearing, breathing, speaking, or with dentures or loose teeth
- Bleeding of the mouth or nose
- Lumps, bumps or masses
- Double vision
- Nasal discharge, obstruction, or persistent congestion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Foul breath
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
Treatment options vary depending on how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment options for each patient, including surgery, radiation therapy, proton therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. A combination may be used for the best chance of disease control.