A survey was conducted to identify demographics and standards of care for treatment of hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in the United States. Data were accrued from voluntary submission of cancer registry and medical chart information from 769 hospitals representing 2939 cases diagnosed from 1980 to 1985 and 1990 to 1992. Clinical findings, diagnostic procedures employed, treatment practices, and outcome are presented. Overall, 5-year disease-specific survival was 33.4%, which segregated to 63.1% (stage I), 57.5%(stage II), 41.8% (stage III), and 22% (stage IV). Survival was best for patients treated with surgery only (50.4%), similar with combined surgery and irradiation (48%), and worse with irradiation only (25.8%). This analysis provides a standard to which current treatment practice and future clinical trials may be compared.