Mortality rates for pharynx and mouth cancers have decreased

November 21, 2011

Death rates have declined among U.S. patients with cancer of the mouth and pharynx from 1993 to 2007, with the greatest decreases seen among men and women with at least 12 years of education, according to a report in the November issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.

Decreases in risk factors and improved detection and treatment have contributed to decreasing death rates from major types of cancer – including lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers – in the U.S. since the early 1990s. The decreases in mortality rates among patients age 25 to 64 years were largely limited to those with higher , according to background information in the article. Death rates among patients with cancers of the (mouth) and the (the area that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe) have also decreased over the past few decades, although the extent this varies by educational attainment has not been previously examined for head and neck cancer.

Amy Y. Chen, M.D., M.P.H., of Emory University School of Medicine and the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, and colleagues studied mortality rates for patients with oral cavity and pharynx cancer by level of education, race/ethnicity, sex, and association with the human papillomavirus (HPV, a family of viruses that can be transmitted through sexual contact). The researchers analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics on white and black men and women, age 25 to 64 years, in 26 states.

"From 1993 to 2007, overall mortality rates for patients with oral cavity and pharynx cancer decreased among black and white men and women; however, rates among white men have stabilized since 1999," the authors report.

The largest decreases in death rates were among black men and women with 12 years of education.

" for patients with oral cavity and pharynx cancers decreased significantly among men and women with more than 12 years of education, regardless of race/ethnicity (except for black women), whereas rates increased among with less than 12 years of ," the authors write.

The study found that varied substantially for HPV-related and HPV-unrelated sites.

"The difference in mortality trends may reflect the changing prevalence of smoking and sexual behaviors among populations of different educational attainment," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Infection contributes to the high rates of oropharyngeal cancers

More information: Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137[11]:1094-1099.

Related Stories

Study says death gap increasing in US

May 14, 2008

A new study finds a gap in overall death rates between Americans with less than high school education and college graduates increased rapidly from 1993 to 2001. The study, which appears in the May 14 issue of PLoS ONE, says ...

Black patients at higher risk for colon polyps

September 23, 2008

Compared with white patients, black patients undergoing screening colonoscopy have a higher prevalence of colon polyps, according to a study in the September 24 issue of JAMA.

Annual report to the nation focuses on brain tumors

March 31, 2011

Lung cancer death rates in women have fallen for the first time in four decades, according to an annual report on the status of cancer published online March 31 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The drop comes ...

Recommended for you

Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia

August 30, 2016

Healthy fat tissue is essential for extended survival in the event of tumor-induced wasting syndrome (cachexia). In Nature Medicine, researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München show that selective manipulation of an enzyme ...

Radiologists detect breast cancer in 'blink of an eye'

August 29, 2016

A new study by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in collaboration with researchers at the University of York and Leeds in the UK and MD Andersen Cancer Center in Texas puts to the test anecdotes about experienced ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.