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Estimating Your Risk

The information in Disease Risk Index is based on established science and proven risk factors. A risk factor is proven if the evidence is strong enough to show a link to the disease. The information applies to populations in the US and other western countries.

Each question on the web site is related to a number that represents the strength of the association between the risk factor and the disease. As you answer the questions, the numbers are multiplied to equal your personal risk based on the risk factors that apply to you. Your risk is then compared to the average risk for a person your age and sex.

Disease Risk Index may not include information on some things you think affect your risk of cancer. That's because scientific studies don't show a consistent link to the disease. If it's not included in the web site, the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention doesn't regard it as a proven risk factor.

Disease Risk Index had it's beginnings as the Harvard Cancer Risk Index, a pen and paper risk assessment tool first put together in the mid 1990's by the Risk Index Working Group at Harvard University.

Documentation of the process used to determine the content of the site appears in the Harvard Report on Cancer Prevention, Volume 4: Harvard Cancer Risk Index.

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