Descriptive Epidemiology: International Patterns
Head and neck cancers (HNC) are a group of neoplasms common in several regions of the world where the prevalence of tobacco habits and alcohol consumption in the population is high. These cancers accounted for 420,000 new cases among males and 142,000 incident cases among females in 2002 around the world (Table 1 )  . They are responsible for 8% of male (257,779/3,092,119) and 4% of female cancers (101,654/2,735,386) in the developing world. In developed countries, they account for 6% of male (163,377/2,698,175) and 2% of female cancers (40,762/2,317,939). The incidence rate of HNC and the distribution of cancers in head and neck anatomical subsites vary greatly in different geographical regions. The variation in cancer distribution by subsites is most likely due to differences in the relative distribution of the known risk factors such as tobacco chewing, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Misclassification of subsites is also a possibility due to the difficulties in assigning the primary site of origin, especially due to the anatomical proximity between the various subsites (for example, cancers of the supraglottic larynx and hypopharynx). However, patterns of disease distribution provide valuable clues for disease prevention and control. We will review the global geographical distribution and trends in incidence and mortality of HNC.
KeywordsNeck Cancer Laryngeal Cancer Hypopharyngeal Cancer Oral Cavity Cancer Descriptive Epidemiology
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