The epidemiology of cancers is known in France through mortality data provided by Inserm and morbidity data obtained by French tumor registries. The purpose of this study was to compare the incidence of laryngeal cancers in 9 French departments and to give an estimate of this incidence for the whole of France, based on this data. Incidence and mortality data were collected over the period 1978-1997. The incidence and mortality rates were estimated for each year from 1978 up to 2000. Observed incidence and mortality data in the population covered by cancer registries were modelled using age-cohort methods. An estimation of the incidence/mortality ratio was obtained from these models and applied to the mortality rates predicted from an age-cohort model for the entire French population. The estimated number of laryngeal cancers was 3,865 in males and 361 in females. There were pronounced contrasts in laryngeal cancer incidence between cancer registries. The incidence rate of laryngeal cancers were especially high in the Somme and Calvados department compared to those observed in Haut-Rhin and Tarn. The ratio incidence/mortality was 2.4 in Doubs and 1.3 in Somme. France is among the countries which have the highest rates of incidence and mortality for laryngeal cancer in Europe.