Lifetime risk of cancer has been overstated: research

Lifetime risk of cancer has been overstated: research

PanARMENIAN.Net - The method used to estimate a person's lifetime risk of developing cancer has been overestimating that risk, especially for men, research suggests, according to The Sidney Morning Herald.

The key, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia, was that the method used by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) only takes into account a person’s risk of dying from cancer, not any other causes.

This means the risk of dying from cancer may be overstated in official figures from the AIHW, which are used by many different governments and organisations for awareness campaigns and to guide policy.

Research co-author Dr Anthea Bach from West Moreton Hospital and Health Service said in some instances, the overstatement was relatively large.

"Prostate cancer was the biggest overestimation – going back to 1993, the AIHW published the risk of 22.5 per cent of getting prostate cancer. We calculated it was 14.4 per cent," Dr Bach said.

"That’s the difference between a one-in-four chance of getting prostate cancer and a one-in-seven chance."

More recent data revealed a smaller discrepancy in that rate, but there was still an across-the-board lower rate of contracting all cancers using the method that took into account other causes of death.

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