Stark variations in oral cancer incidence and mortality across England

  • Public Health England
  • 27 May 2020

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

New figures from Public Health England (PHE) show stark inequalities in the prevention and treatment of oral cancer between geographic areas and population groups.

A new report presents oral cancer data for England held by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) and includes incidence, survival and mortality rates. It covers the period from 2012 to 2016, and the data are presented at national, regional, upper-tier and lower-tier local authority levels.

The report shows that in England, from 2012 to 2016, there were 35,830 new cases of oral cancer and 10,908 deaths. Most cases presented late in the disease process. Among new cases, malignant neoplasm of the tonsil was the most frequent diagnosis, closely followed by malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of tongue. Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined sites in the lip, oral cavity and pharynx was the least frequent. The tongue and floor of mouth accounted for over a third of cases.

Incidence and mortality rates for oral cancer have risen in recent years, and there are stark inequalities between geographic areas and population groups. Those living in urban areas and in the North of England are more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer and are more likely to die from oral cancer than those living in rural areas and in the South.

Oral cancer disproportionately affects males, and its incidence and mortality increase with deprivation and age. Standardised incidence per 100,000 was 5.70 for black/black British people and was similar for individuals of mixed ethnicity. The incidence among Asian/Asian British was 9.00 per 100,000, rising to 10.68 for white people and 20.5 in other ethnicities.

PHE says the data in the report may be used by local authorities to contribute to joint strategic needs assessments and by commissioners in planning health improvement initiatives and clinical services.