Epidemiology of Oral Cancer

  • José Manuel García-Martín
  • Pablo Varela-Centelles
  • Manuel González
  • Juan M. Seoane-Romero
  • Juan Seoane
  • María José García-PolaEmail author


Oral cancer represents a health problem worldwide due to its morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of oral cancer presents some variations around the world. These rates vary by as much as 20-fold among different countries, age groups, gender, races, and ethnic groups. Globally, the emergence of oral cancer is higher in male than female, and the risk increases with age. In 2013, oral cancer incidence ranked eleventh among all sites of cancer. The Indian subcontinent accounts for one-third of the oral cancer burden in the world. Oral cancer is the most common cancer among men in India and the second cancer among Pakistani women. The lowest rates are found in Western Africa and Eastern Asia. North African countries also present low incidences.

Surveillance of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancer at 5 years after diagnosis has estimated survival around 50% and for salivary gland carcinoma up to more than 85%.

Worldwide, the mortality rate of oral cancer was higher in male than in female. Death from oral cancer ranks fifteenth place for men and seventeenth for women in the US population. In Europe, it ranked the seventh and tenth, respectively.

The highest risk for lip cancer is experienced in Spain and in Australia and North America for salivary gland tumors. Globally, salivary gland malignant tumor is an infrequent carcinoma, and it is not considered among the tenth major cancers. Although in some developed countries oral cancer has decreased (the USA or Canada), in another, e.g., certain European countries, it has increased. Many of these differences are undoubtedly caused by differing population habits, life expectancies, preventive education, and the quality of medical records in various countries. These data can be helpful in identifying potential causative factors.


Oral cancer Epidemiology Incidence Survival Mortality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Manuel García-Martín
    • 1
  • Pablo Varela-Centelles
    • 2
  • Manuel González
    • 1
  • Juan M. Seoane-Romero
    • 3
  • Juan Seoane
    • 3
  • María José García-Pola
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Medical-Surgical SpecialtiesSchool of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of OviedoOviedoSpain
  2. 2.HULA, EOXI Lugo, Cervo, e Monforte de Lemos, Galician Health ServiceLugoSpain
  3. 3.Stomatology Department, School of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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