In cancer research, absolute risk is defined as the likelihood that a person who is free of a specific type of cancer at a given age will develop that cancer over a certain period of time. DCEG investigators have developed models for projecting the individualized absolute risk of breast cancer (http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/), colorectal cancer (http://www.cancer.gov/colorectalcancerrisk/), and melanoma (http://www.cancer.gov/melanomarisktool/). These models have been used to counsel individual patients on their disease risk, to make more formal management recommendations, such as whether or not to take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, to design cancer prevention trials, and to assess the potential reductions in population absolute risk from preventive activities.
The breast cancer risk assessment tool has been monitored to check its calibration over time and has been enhanced to improve projections for African-American and Asian-American women. Studies to improve projections for Hispanic Women are ongoing. Computer programs for projections for these models are available in the Tools and Resources section of this web site under Risk Assessment Macros and Software Programs.