Glossary of Medical Terms

cumulative risk

A measure of the total risk that a certain event will happen during a given period of time. In cancer research, it is the likelihood that a person who is free of a certain type of cancer will develop that cancer by a specific age. For example, a woman with no known risk factors for breast cancer has a cumulative risk of getting breast cancer over a lifetime of 90 years of about 12-13%. This means one out of every eight women will get breast cancer by age 90 years.

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