BETHESDA, MD — Men in the active-duty military population differ somewhat from the United States’ general population in rates of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer incidence, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the John P. Murtha Cancer Center Research Program, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center used data from the DoD’s Automated Central Tumor Registry (ACTUR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER-9) registries to reach those conclusions.

In the study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, age-adjusted oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer incidence rates among men aged 20-59 from 1990-2013 were compared between ACTUR and SEER populations.1

Results indicated that the age-adjusted oral cancer incidence rate was lower in ACTUR than SEER (IRR = 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.81-0.98). Incidence was lower in ACTUR for oral cavity cancer (IRR = 0.75, 95% CI, 0.66-0.89) and remained lower when stratified by age and race.

On the other hand, ACTUR oropharyngeal cancer rates were higher than SEER among white men (IRR = 1.19, 95% CI, 1.01-1.39) and those aged 40-59 (IRR = 1.18, 95% CI, 1.00-1.39).

The authors also pointed out that oropharyngeal cancer increased for both populations over time, but oral cavity cancer increased in ACTUR while decreasing in SEER.

“Rates were lower in ACTUR than SEER for oral cavity, but not for oropharyngeal cancer. Temporal oral cancer incidence patterns differed between the two populations,” the researchers concluded. “This study provides clues for more research on possible variations between these two populations and related factors.”


  1. Bytnar JA, Shriver CD, Zhu K. Incidence rates of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers among men: a comparison of active-duty military and general populations. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2021 May 7. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000698. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33990095. D:33797856.