National Cancer Institute
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Risk Factor Monitoring & Methods
Cancer Control and Population Sciences


Absolute Cancer Risk Prediction Models

Absolute cancer risk is the probability that an individual with given risk factors and a given age will develop cancer over a defined period of time. In collaboration with investigators in the NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), staff of the Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch (RFMMB) are developing statistical models to predict the absolute risk of developing specific cancers among average-risk individuals based on their risk and protective factors for cancer. Examples of these factors include race, age, sex, body mass index, family history of cancer, history of tobacco use, use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical activity, use of hormone replacement therapy, reproductive factors, history of cancer screening, and dietary factors. This research builds on past cancer risk assessment models developed at NCI, including the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (often referred to as the "Gail Model").

Developing statistical models that estimate the probability of developing cancer over a defined period of time will help clinicians identify individuals at higher risk of specific cancers, allowing for earlier or more frequent screening and counseling of behavioral changes to decrease risk. These types of models also will be useful for designing future chemoprevention and screening intervention trials in individuals at high risk of specific cancers in the general population.

Last modified:
30 May 2007
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