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Researchers describe risk as the estimated chance of getting a disease during a certain time period, such as within the next 10 years, or during your lifetime. For example, you might hear a statement “A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer is 17 percent during his lifetime.”

For information about the statistical terms used to express risk and other statistical measures of cancer, see the Glossary of Statistical Terms.

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Test your knowledge of risk:

For men in the U.S., the lifetime risk of prostate cancer is nearly 17 percent. What does this mean?
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  1. In general about 17 of every 100 males in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. This is the absolute risk of prostate cancer for U.S. males.

  2. Every man in the U.S. has a 17 percent chance of dying from prostate cancer.

  3. If a man is over 40, his chance of getting prostate cancer in the next year is almost 17 percent.

African American men have a relative risk of 1.2 for diagnosis of prostate cancer when compared to White men. What does this mean?
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  1. The risk of a diagnosis of prostate cancer is linked to where African American men live.

  2. Overall, African American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than White men.

  3. Fewer African American men than White men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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