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Head Neck. 2002 Feb;24(2):165-80.

Presentation, treatment, and outcome of oral cavity cancer: a National Cancer Data Base report.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 212 PFP, University of Iowa College of Medicine, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.



Oral cancer has been identified as a significant public health threat. Systematic evaluation of the impact of this disease on the US population is of great importance to health care providers and policy makers.


This study used the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) to evaluate associations between demographic and disease characteristics, treatment, and survival for patients with oral cavity cancer in the United States. Of patients diagnosed between 1985 and 1996, 58,976 were extracted from the NCDB. ANOVAs were performed on selected cross-tabulations, and relative survival was used to calculate outcome.


Median age of patients was 64.0 years. Men made up 60.2% of patients. Pathologic diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in 86.3% of cases. Younger patients had a much higher frequency of non-SCC, and this was related to survival in these patients. African-Americans (independent of income), lower income patients, and patients with higher grade disease were seen more frequently with advanced-stage SCC. Five-year relative survival for SCC cases was lower for older patients, men, and African-Americans.


This study addressed many issues related to oral cancer that have been previously discussed in the literature. The demographic, site, stage, histologic, and survival data available for this large number of cases in the NCDB allowed an accurate characterization of the contemporary status of oral cancer in the United States.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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