Background: Head and neck cancers (HNCs) continue to remain a significant public health burden worldwide, causing significant mortality and morbidity despite significant clinical advances enabling their early diagnosis and treatment.
Methods: We used data from the GLOBOCAN 2012, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, World Health Organization Mortality Database and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programmes to describe the current epidemiology of HNCs.
Results: Estimated age-standardised incidence/mortality rates for cancers of the lip and oral cavity among males and females (7.0/2.3 and 2.6/0.6 per 100,000 per annum) in more developed regions are higher compared to those in less developed regions (5.0/2.8 and 2.5/1.4 per 100,000 per annum). Similarly, the estimated rates for cancers of the tonsils and pharynx among males (7.5/2.5 per 100,000 per annum) and females (2.7/0.5 per 100,000 per annum) are reported to be the highest in Western Europe, whereas these rates for cancer of the larynx among males (7.9/4.0 per 100,000 per annum) and females (0.9/0.5 per 100,000 per annum) are reported to be the highest in the Caribbean. Cancer of the nasopharynx represents a significant HNC burden in the Asia-Pacific region and Northern Africa.
Conclusion: The current and future estimated burden of HNCs is shifting to less developed regions which may be ill equipped to deal with this increasing burden. This needs urgent attention of policy makers through effective cancer control policy implementation with population-based interventions.
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.