Learning About Cancer Risk

Knowing personal risk factors for cancer is very important. Often, there may be recommendations for reducing risk and screening recommendations may differ according to an individual's known risk factors.

However, the way researchers describe risk is often different from the way we think about risk in everyday life. Scientists define risk as the estimated chance of getting a disease during a certain time period.

Learn more about risk from the National Cancer Institute.

The NCI also provides three risk assessment tools:

  • Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
    An interactive tool that allows doctors to estimate a woman's absolute risk of developing invasive breast cancer over the next 5 years for women age 35 to 90 years (lifetime risk) based on the woman's age and the risk factor information provided.
  • Melanoma Risk Assessment Tool
    An interactive tool that allows doctors to estimate a person's absolute risk of developing invasive melanoma (skin cancer) over the next 5 years for people age 20 to 70 years.
  • Colorectal Cancer Risk Assesment Tool
    An interactive tool designed to help people and their healthcare providers make informed choices about colorectal screening. The tool uses a respondent's answers to an online questionnaire to calculate that person's 5-year, 10-year, and lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer.