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Head Neck. 2010 Mar;32(3):357-67. doi: 10.1002/hed.21193.

Oral cavity cancer in developed and in developing countries: population-based incidence.

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  • 1Descriptive Epidemiology Production Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.



The incidence of oral cavity cancer (OCC) is not well documented because it is rarely described in accord with the anatomic definition but is usually grouped with oropharyngeal subsites. We studied the incidence of OCC in developed and in developing countries.


The age-standardized and age-specific incidence rates of OCC were calculated for the period 1998-2002, using the topographic definition used by the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC), based on data from CI5-IX.


The highest rates are observed in Pakistan, Brazil, India, and France and were consistent with country-specific risk factors and their prevalence.


In developing countries, people are exposed to a wider range of risk factors, starting at younger ages, and primary prevention measures and policies are needed. Awareness of professionals must be improved to identify people at risk and target them for prevention and to minimize the consequences of OCC.

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