Introduction: The incidence of cancers in New York State (NYS) before and after 9/11 including lung, colorectal, and renal cancers has been previously described. To date, the incidence of head and neck cancers (HNCs) before and after 9/11 has not been described. Methods: Cancers involving the oral cavity and oropharynx; the nose, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, and middle ear; larynx; and thyroid were identified using the New York State Cancer Registry (NYSCR). Age-adjusted incidence and rates per 100,000 residents from 1987 to 2015 were analyzed using joinpoint regression. Trends in incidence using annual percent changes are presented. Results: The overall rate of HNC increased slightly by 0.7% (p < 0.001) from 1987 to 2003 in NYS. From 2003 to 2008, the rate increased by 5.73% (p < 0.001), and from 2008 to 2015, the rate increased by 1.68% (p < 0.001). The rate of thyroid cancer increased by 6.79% (p < 0.001) from 1987 to 2003, by 9.99% (p < 0.001) from 2003 to 2009, and by 2.41% (p = 0.001) from 2009 to 2015. The rate of thyroid cancer was higher in women at all time points. In a subset analysis of HNCs excluding thyroid cancer, the rate decreased by 2.02% (p < 0.001) from 1991 to 2001, followed by a nonsignificant increase of 0.1% (p = 0.515) from 2001 to 2015. The rate of oropharyngeal (OP) cancer significantly increased from 1999 to 2015 (2.65%; p < 0.001). The rate of oral cavity cancer significantly decreased from 1987 to 2003 (1.97%; p < 0.001), with no significant change after 2003. The rate of laryngeal cancer decreased significantly by 2.43% (p < 0.001) from 1987 to 2015, as did the rate of nasal cavity/nasopharyngeal cancer (0.33%; p = 0.03). Conclusions: In NYS, OP cancer and thyroid cancer rates increased significantly during the study period. The rate of thyroid cancer was higher in women. The rate of combined HNC increased significantly after 9/11 compared to before 9/11; however, in a subset analysis of all HNC patients excluding thyroid cancer, the rate decreased significantly prior to 9/11 and then nonsignificantly increased afterward. This suggests that the increase in thyroid cancer accounts for the increase in combined HNC in NYS. The impact of 9/11 on rates of HNC requires further research.

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