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Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer
The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for laryngeal cancer in the United States for 2023 are:
About 60% of laryngeal cancers start in the glottis (the area containing the vocal cords), while about 35% develop in the supraglottic area (above the vocal cords). The rest develop in either the subglottis (below the vocal cords) or overlap more than one area so that it is hard to tell where they started.
Most people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer are 55 or older; a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 55. The average age of people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer is about 66.
Black men are more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than White men and are more likely to die from it. It is also much more common in men than women.
The rate of new cases of laryngeal cancer is falling by about 2% to 3% a year, most likely because fewer people are smoking. Over the past 10 years, the death rate is also dropping about 2% to 3% each year.
Overall, the lifetime risk of developing laryngeal cancer is: about 1 in 190 for men and 1 in 830 for women. A number of other factors (see Risk Factors for Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer) can also affect your risk for developing laryngeal cancer.
Cancers of the hypopharynx are very rare. In the United States, only about 2,000 to 4,000 cancers will start in the hypopharynx.
Survival statistics for these cancers are discussed in Survival rates for laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers, by stage.
Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Facts & Figures 2023. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2023.
Garneau JC, Bakst RL, Miles BA. Hypopharyngeal cancer: A state of the art review. Oral Oncol. 2018;86:244-250. doi:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2018.09.025.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2017, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2017/, based on November 2019 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2020.
Mowery Y, Rocco JW. Treatment of early (stage I and II) head and neck cancer: The hypopharynx. In: Shah S, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, Mass.: UpToDate, 2020. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-early-stage-i-and-ii-head-and-neck-cancer-the-hypopharynx. Accessed September 14, 2020.
Last Revised: January 12, 2023
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