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Lifetime Risk of Developing or Dying of Cancer

Lifetime risk is the probability of developing or dying from cancer in the course of one's lifespan. Lifetime and age-conditional risk estimates provide a useful summary of the current cancer risk and how this risk compares with earlier periods and among select subgroups of society. These reported estimates have the potential to promote early detection efforts, to increase cancer awareness, and to serve as an aid in study planning.

Statistical models are used to compute the probability of developing or dying of cancer from birth or conditional on a certain age. The development of this statistical methodology is described on the Surveillance Research Program Web site.

NCI has a variety of published reports and research tools for finding statistics on lifetime risk.

For definitions of statistics-related terms, see the Glossary of Statistical Terms.

  • Updated: December 4, 2009