Objective: Several countries have reported increasing incidence of oral cavity and oropharyngeal (OCOP) squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over recent years, particularly among young men and primarily in tongue and tonsil subsites, attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This study examines trends in incidence and age distribution of OCOP SCC in Jamaica over a 30-year period.
Methods: We extracted all cases of OCOP SCC archived in the Jamaica Cancer Registry files over the 30 year-period from 1978 to 2007 and grouped them according to anatomical site (International Classification of Diseases; ICD-9), age and gender. The data were used to calculate age standardized rates (ASRs) and age-specific incidence rates (ASIRs).
Results: There were 384 patients (age range 21 to 94 years; male to female ratio 2.6:1) with OCOP SCC; the majority (85.4%) was > 50 years. Age standardized rates of all OCOP SCC combined were higher in males than in females and there was a decrease in both genders over the study period. Tongue and tonsil were the commonest subsites, and males showed decreasing ASR in both. Females showed decreasing ASR in tongue and fluctuation in tonsil SCCs. The highest ASIRs for tongue and tonsil SCC were consistently seen in patients older than 50 years of age.
Conclusion: The incidence of OCOP SCC is decreasing and continues to predominate among older men. The decreasing trend in incidence of tongue and tonsil SCC is unlike that reported elsewhere. This may be due to differences in sexual practices, small size of this study, or a lag time in emergence of a new trend.