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Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2015 Jul;24(3):379-96. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Epidemiology of head and neck cancer.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 North Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address:


This article discusses risk factors, incidence trends, and prognostic considerations for head and neck cancer (HNC). The primary causes of HNC are tobacco and alcohol use, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Tobacco-related HNC incidence rates are decreasing in countries where tobacco use has declined. HPV-HNC, which occurs primarily in the oropharynx and is associated with sexual behaviors, has been increasing over the past several decades, among white men in particular. The prognosis for HNC overall has improved slightly since the 1990s, and is influenced by site, stage, and HPV status. Prognosis for HPV-HNC is significantly better than for HPV-negative disease.


Alcohol; Epidemiology; Head and neck cancer; Human papillomavirus; Tobacco

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