Oral cancer over four decades: Epidemiology, trends, histology, and survival by anatomical sites

Avraham Zini*, Rakefet Czerninski, Harold D. Sgan-Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Background: Oral cancer is one of the few life-threatening oral diseases. The subtypes and different sites of oral cancer has different etiology epidemiology and survival rate. Prevalence of the various anatomical oral sites provided potential baseline for improvement of clinical approach. Methods: Incidence and survival rates were derived from the Israel National Cancer Registry and included all registered data between 1970 and 2006. Oral cancer included the lips, tongue, buccal mucosa, gums, vestibulum, floor of the mouth, and palate. Results: Most prevalent oral cancer subtype was squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) among men above the age of 55 years. Females had a higher incidence of SCC in lateral border of tongue, gums and buccal mucosa. Lymphoma and sarcoma were the most prevalent under the age of 20. Melanomas and metastatic disease revealed the lowest survival rate, while invasive or infiltrating basal cell carcinoma in the lips had the highest rate. The highest oral survival rate was for the lip, and the lowest was for the tongue and gums. Conclusions: Early detection of oral cancer is important for all the medical health team. Decrease in lip carcinoma may be a result of occupational or awareness changes and should be studied. Non-epithelial tumors under the age of 20 should be considered as a differential diagnosis. A basic oral examination should be included in all routine medical examinations, with emphasis on high-risk patients and high-risk oral sites.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Cancer sites
  • Epidemiology
  • Oral cancer
  • Survival rate
  • Trend


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