Oral cancer in Slovenia, 1985–2014

  • Jona Blatnik National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana
  • Vesna Zadnik Slovenian Cancer Registry, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana
  • Barbara Artnik Chair of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Keywords: oral cancer, cancer burden, incidence, time trend, public health


Background: Oral cancer is a collective name for lip cancer, oral cavity cancer and oropharyngeal cancer; it is one of the most prevalent malignancies in Slovenia. The aim of our study was to analyse the burden of oral cancer in a thirty-year period (1985–2014) in Slovenia.
Methods: All new cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer (C00–C14) in Slovenia diagnosed between the years 1985–2014 were retrieved from the population based Slovenian Cancer Registry. The analysis of the burden of oral cancer was performed for three primary locations: lip (C00.0–2), oral cavity (C00.3–9, C02.0–3, C02.8–9, C03, C04, C05.0, C05.8–9, C06) and oropharynx (C01, C02.4, C05.1–2, C09, C10). Time trends in the incidence of oral cancer for three primary locations were presented with average annual percent changes in crude incidence rates.
Results: 9,442 new cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer were observed between 1985 and 2014. Final analysis was performed for 7,190 new cases of lip, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer; 83.4 % of patients were men and 16.6 % were women. Average age of a patient at diagnosis was 59.8 years ± 11.3. The highest incidence of lip cancer was observed in 80+ age group, and the highest incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancer was observed in 55–59 age group. The proportion of male patients was higher in all three cancer groups. The majority of new cases of lip cancer were diagnosed at a localised stage, whereas the majority of new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed at a regional stage. Survival rates were highest for patients with lip cancer and lowest for patients with oropharyngeal cancer. A thirty-year time trend showed that the incidence of lip cancer was decreasing, whereas the incidence rates of oral cavity cancer and oropharyngeal cancer were increasing.
Conclusion: Oral cancer is one of the biggest public health and socioeconomic problems of modern society. Early detection of oral cancer improves survival rates and the quality of life of patients. It is necessary to pay attention to the burden of this disease and manage its prevention and control.


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How to Cite
Blatnik J, Zadnik V, Artnik B. Oral cancer in Slovenia, 1985–2014. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 9Jan.2020 [cited 27Feb.2020];88(11-12):493-08. Available from: https://vestnik.szd.si/index.php/ZdravVest/article/view/2845