Objective: Oral and pharyngeal cancer is still a serious public health problem with more than 10,000 new cases every year in Germany, more than 4,000 patients die of this tumour each year. Aim of the project was a detailed analysis on incidence and mortality rates by age, gender and tumour sites in Northern Germany. Methods: The data on incidence and mortality rates from the population-based Cancer Registry of Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany were evaluated by age, gender and tumour sites from 2000 to 2006. Results: Some 3,127 new cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer (72% men, 28% women) were registered. About half of all cases were aged 60-79 years. The incidence trends for 40-59 years described a slight decrease. Trends for pharyngeal cancer showed the highest incidence rates for both genders in those aged 60-79. This detailed analysis with subgroups showed interesting differences and revealed considerable variations, especially compared to the increasing trends in several European countries. Conclusions: These population-based data of Schleswig-Holstein showed interesting differences in the trends for incidence and mortality rates for age groups and tumour sites within the state and compared to the national German data and revealed noticeable different trends compared to several European countries. This population-based information informs effective cancer control.