Epidemiology of oral, salivary gland and pharyngeal cancer in children and adolescents between 1970 and 2011

Shai Levi, Avraham Zini, Stuart Fischman, Rakefet Czerninski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives The age of oral and pharyngeal cancer patients has reportedly decreased over the last decade, but most of the peer-reviewed literature regarding oral and pharyngeal cancer in individuals 0–19 years of age (Y) is limited to specific tumor sites and/or types, or a small number of cases. Our aim is to characterize oral, salivary gland and pharyngeal cancer (OSPC) in 0–19 Y in order to improve knowledge of the disease in young individuals. Methods Data on OSPC between 1970 and 2011 was taken from the Israel National Cancer Registry, and included patient age, gender, tumor site and tumor type. Data analysis was performed by using IBM SPSS, Winpepi software and Joinpoint Regression Program. alpha < 0.05 was deemed statistically significant. Results A total of 13,863 OSPC cases were diagnosed with 2.6% (N = 357) of 0–19 Y. The male to female ratio was 1.5:1. The rates of diagnosis decreased between 1991 and 2011 and were not significantly different between the genders. The nasopharynx was the leading tumor site (42.3%) followed by the salivary glands (20.5%), and both were more common in 14–19 Y. The tonsils and other pharyngeal sites were common among 0–13 Y. The main tumor types were lymphomas (20.7%) and carcinomas (19.9%). Conclusions The general characteristics of OSPC remained unchanged over the last four decades. This may imply that environmental factors have not had any effect. Males are affected more than females and might have a genetic predisposition for nasopharyngeal malignancy. Health care providers should be aware of the common sites and tumor types among children and adolescents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oral cancer


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