Cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) constitute 3.5-4% of all malignancies. Since the majority of cases are squamous cell carcinomas which are related with epidemiologic factors, a different pattern of UADT cancer might be present between the Western and Asian populations. We performed a pathology based statistical study on UADT cancers in Korean patients. Cases from Korea Cancer Center Hospital, from January 1, 1988 through December 31, 1998, were subjected to the study. Among 2,842 cases, epithelial malignancies accounted for 87.8%, with squamous cell carcinoma as the major type (76.5%). The larynx was the most commonly affected site (26%), followed by the oral cavity (25.1%), oropharynx (13%), nasopharynx (9%), hypopharynx (8.4%), paranasal sinuses (6.4%), nasal cavity (6%) and salivary glands (6.1%). The percentage of squamous cell carcinoma was highest (98.7%) at the hypopharynx, and lowest at the nasal cavity (42.3%), which showed the most diverse tumor entities. Korean patients with UADT cancers presented with a higher incidence of non-epidermoid malignancy including sarcoma (1.5%) and malignant melanoma (1.4%), and a higher frequency of involvement of the sinonasal tract, compared with the Western patients
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