Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2021


Cancers of the oral cavity (OC) and oropharynx (OP) account for 3% of cancers diagnosed in the United States each year. A primary cause of death among the Hispanic population in the United States is cancer, accounting for 20% of annual mortality. The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is a medically-underserved area of South Texas with a large Hispanic population facing health disparities. In this study, we examine the incidence and mortality of OC and OP cancer in the RGV. CDC population-level incidence and mortality rate per 100,000 of OC/OP cancer among patients in the RGV counties of Hidalgo and Cameron County between 2014-2018 compared to Texas and national incidence data was used. Starr and Willacy County data was omitted due to case rates below the reporting threshold. Age-adjusted incidence and 95% confidence interval of OC/OP cancer in the RGV from 2014-2018 is 7.3 [6.6, 8.0], as compared to 11.2 [11.0, 11.3] in Texas, and 11.9 [11.8, 12.0] in the United States. Rates of OC/OP cancer among RGV Hispanics was 6.7 [6.0, 7.5] as compared to 6.8 [6.5, 7.1] in Texas and 6.9 [6.8, 7.0] nationally. Mortality rate in these cancers in the RGV is 1.8 [1.5, 2.2] compared to 2.5 [2.4, 2.5] in Texas. OC/OP cancer rates are prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley but there may be an under-reporting of data. Of note, cancer cases could not be separated by subsite (OC vs. OP) due to the method of reporting to the database. The rising rates nationally may pose a larger problem to the RGV due to cancer health disparities and inequities.

Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department




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