Nasopharyngeal cancer is the 18th most commonly occurring cancer in men and the 22nd most commonly occurring cancer in women. There were 129,000 new cases in 2018. The top 20 countries with the highest rates of nasopharyngeal cancer in 2018 are given in the tables below.

The Continuous Update Project Panel judged there is strong evidence that consuming Cantonese-style salted fish increases the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. There is some evidence that consuming red meat, processed meat and preserved non-starchy vegetables might increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. There is some evidence that greater intakes of non-starchy vegetables might decrease the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. Read about all the evidence in our Third Expert Report.

Age-standardised rates are used in the tables. This is a summary measure of the rate of disease that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardisation is necessary when comparing populations that differ with respect to age because age has a powerful influence on the risk of dying from cancer.

Nasopharyngeal cancer rates: both sexes

Brunei had the highest rate of nasopharyngeal cancer in 2018, followed by the Maldives and Singapore.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Brunei 9.9 
2= Maldives 6.7
2= Singapore 6.7
4 Indonesia 6.6
5 Malaysia 6.3
6 Vietnam 5.7
7 Timor-Leste 5.1
8 Laos 4.3
9 Myanmar 3.7
10= Algeria 3.2
10= Kenya 3.2
10= Philippines 3.2
13 China 3.0
14 Guam 2.9
15= Cameroon 2.2
15= Morocco 2.2
15= Thailand 2.2
15= Tunisia 2.2
19= Bhutan 2.1
19= Libya 2.1

Nasopharyngeal cancer rates in men

Brunei had the highest rate of nasopharyngeal cancer in men in 2018, followed by Indonesia.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Brunei 12.7
2 Indonesia 10.5
3 Maldives 10.0
4 Singapore 9.8
5 Malaysia 9.5
6 Vietnam 9.0
7 Timor-Leste 7.1
8= Guam 5.8
8= Laos 5.8
10 Myanmar 5.5
11= Algeria 4.6
11= Philippines 4.6
13 Kenya 4.5
14 China 4.3
15 Thailand 3.3
16= Cambodia 3.2
16= Tunisia 3.2
18= Cameroon 3.0
18= Morocco 3.0
20 Bhutan 2.7

Nasopharyngeal cancer rates in women

Brunei had the highest rate of nasopharyngeal cancer in women in 2018, followed by Singapore.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Brunei 6.9
2 Singapore 3.7
3 Timor-Leste 3.2
4 Laos 3.1
5 Malaysia 3.0
6 Indonesia 2.9
7= Maldives 2.8
7= Vietnam 2.8
9 Myanmar 2.2
10= Kenya 2.0
10= Philippines 2.0
12 Algeria 1.9
13 China 1.7
14= Libya 1.5
14= Morocco 1.5
16= Bhutan 1.4
16= Cameroon 1.4
16= Tunisia 1.4
19 Sudan 1.3
20 Thailand 1.2