risk assessment (… uh-SES-ment)
A process used to estimate the risk that a certain event will happen. In medicine, this may include a person’s risk of having a child with a certain condition or disease, such as cancer. It may also be used to estimate the risk of carrying a certain gene mutation (change), or of having an adverse event (unexpected medical problem) in response to certain types of drugs or other substances. A risk assessment may be done by collecting information about a person’s age, sex, personal and family medical history, ethnic background, lifestyle, and other factors and using statistics tools to calculate risk.