Laryngeal cancer: facts & figures

Incidence in Minnesota:

Laryngeal cancer has decreased for men in Minnesota

Laryngeal cancer has been decreasing in Minnesota males since 1988. Decreases are likely due to significant declines in tobacco use among males over time. Incidence rates have remained stable among women. Currently, laryngeal cancer is about four times as common in males as in females.

Incidence rates are highest among American Indians and African Americans, but rates are based on small numbers that tend to vary greatly. Incidence rates of laryngeal cancer in Minnesota are about 20% lower than national rates, which have also been declining. From 2014 to 2016, approximately 148 new cases of laryngeal cancer in males and 37 new cases in females were diagnosed each year in Minnesota.


Laryngeal cancer in Minnesota

 
Age-adjusted rates of new laryngeal cancer cases.
 
Age-adjusted rates of new laryngeal cancer cases.

Incidence rates for females have been relatively stable since 1988 while the rate among males has been decreasing by 2.0% per year since 1988. Despite this decrease, the rate of laryngeal cancer remains higher among males than females. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of laryngeal cancer was 4.3 new cases per 100,000 males and 0.9 new cases per 100,000 females.


Laryngeal cancer in Minnesota, by age

 
Rates of new laryngeal cancer cases, aggregated from 2007 to 2016.
 
Rates of new laryngeal cancer cases,  aggregated from 2004 to 2013.

The rate of laryngeal cancer increases with age until ages 75-79 among males and until ages 70-74 among females.


What is laryngeal cancer?

Laryngeal cancer is cancer that starts in the larynx (voice box). The larynx is responsible for speech and protects the airway (trachea and lungs) from food and liquid that we swallow.

What are risk factors for laryngeal cancer?

Like many cancers, tobacco use and heavy alcohol use increase the risk of laryngeal cancer. Smoking and drinking together dramatically increase risk.

  • Smoking: Smokers have a ten-fold greater risk of developing laryngeal cancer compared to nonsmokers.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption: Heavy drinkers have a two to five times greater risk of laryngeal cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Long-term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, also known as secondhand smoke, may increase the risk for laryngeal cancer and other cancers of the head and neck.
  • Occupational exposures: Long term and intense occupational exposure to asbestos, nickel, wood dust, paint fumes and possibly other chemicals appears to increase risk.
  • Race: African Americans, and in Minnesota, American Indians, have a higher rate of laryngeal cancer than non-Hispanic whites.

How can laryngeal cancer be prevented?

Don't smoke. Avoid inhaling tobacco smoke from others. Don't drink heavily. Avoid known occupational exposures that increase the risk of laryngeal cancer with long-term, intense doses.

 

Last updated May 2019. Updates are made when data become available.