Trends in head and neck cancers in England from 1995 to 2011 and projections up to 2025

Oral Oncol. 2015 Apr;51(4):341-8. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2015.01.002. Epub 2015 Jan 22.


Background: The magnitude of the growing burden of oropharyngeal cancers (OPC), a sub-set of head and neck cancers (HNC), is unknown in England.

Methods: Data were extracted from population-based cancer registries in England. The burden of HNC overall and by anatomic site was described from 1995 to 2011. Projections of future rates up to 2025 were estimated using flexible age-period-cohort modelling.

Results: HNC increased by 59% between 1995 and 2011 in England. Projections indicate that the number of HNC cases will increase by 55% from 2011, totalling 11,748 new cases in 2025, ranking HNC as the sixth most common cancer. Of the anatomic sites, OPC is projected to account for 35% of HNC with the largest rate increase (annual percentage change, +7.3% for men and +6.2% for women between 2011 and 2025), predominantly affecting males <60years. This projected burden is equivalent to a 239% increase in number of OPC cases. Incidence of the oral cavity, salivary glands and palate are projected to rise at lower rates, whereas rates of the nasopharynx, hypopharynx and larynx remain relatively stable or decreasing.

Conclusion: The substantial recent and predicted future significant increase in OPC highlights the need for prioritising the provision of cancer services for the considerable burden of OPC patients and survivors and cancer control strategies.

Keywords: Head and neck cancers; Human papillomavirus; Projections; Trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • England / epidemiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Registries