Mucosal head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that develop in the upper-aero digestive epithelium. Together they constitute the sixth most common cancer with an estimated 900,000 new cases and 350,000 deaths each year reported worldwide. The risk factors are tobacco, alcohol and human papillomavirus (HPV). Our research team initially reported a high incidence rate of HNC in the indigenous population of the Northern Territory. Mortality rates also vary in the Australian States and Territories, with particularly high mortality observed in the Northern Territory. There is a paucity of incidence studies of HNC for the Australian States and Territories. Therefore this review primarily focuses on variation in incidence and mortality iacross the country and highlights specifically the high incidence and mortality in the Northern Territory. Attention is also given to sex-specific incidence and mortality rates.