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 (such as the Gail model) for projecting the individualized absolute risk of certain types of cancer. 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.
DCEG investigators and their colleagues have employed absolute risk modeling to develop tools that clinicians and their patients can use to calculate risk of developing the following cancers:
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.