Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2018 May 15;124(10):2125-2133. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31322. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

Head and neck squamous cell cancers in the United States are rare and the risk now is higher among white individuals compared with black individuals.

Author information

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
Information Management Systems Inc, Calverton, Maryland.



The increasing incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPSCC) is well established. However, up-to-date incidence estimates and trends for head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCCs) overall, including major anatomic sites, and nonoropharyngeal (non-OP) HNSCCs by sex, race, and age in the United States are not well described.


A retrospective analysis of incident HNSCCs during 1992 through 2014 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database was performed to evaluate the incidence of HNSCCs overall, OPSCC, and non-OP HNSCC (those of the larynx, oral cavity, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, and nasal cavity). Incidence rates were calculated overall and by subgroups of interest, and incidence rate ratios were used to compare rates between groups. The incidence rates presented were per 100,000 population and were age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population (19 age groups; Census P25-1130). The annual percent change (APC) was modeled with and without joinpoints.


The incidence of HNSCC overall declined (average APC [aAPC], -0.8; P<.001) despite significant increases in the incidence of OPSCCs, most notably between 2000 and 2014 (APC, 2.1; P<.001). Significant declines in incidence were observed for all non-OP HNSCC sites for both women and men (P<.001 each). Among women, the risk of OPSCC also significantly decreased (aAPC, -0.8; P = .002), whereas the risk among men was stable during 1992 through 2001 (APC, 0.4; P = .42) and then significantly increased from 2001 to 2014 (APC, 2.7; P<.001). Decreases in the risk of non-OP HNSCC were especially large for black women (aAPC, -2.6; P<.001) and men (aAPC, -3.0; P<.001). Although the incidence of HNSCC previously was highest among black individuals, since 2009 its incidence has been higher among white compared with black individuals.


The incidence of HNSCC is declining, especially for non-OP HNSCC and among black individuals. Cancer 2018;124:2125-33. © 2018 American Cancer Society.


head and neck cancer; oropharyngeal cancer; race; sex

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center