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March 26, 2016
Table of Contents

1 Introduction
Your Disease Risk



Your Disease Risk is one of the longest running, publicly available health risk assessments on the Internet. Launched in early 2000 and continually updated to the present time, the site offers risk assessments for twelve different cancers plus four other important chronic diseases: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Developed by chronic disease epidemiologist, Dr. Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, the site began in 1998 as a pen and paper questionnaire called the Harvard Cancer Risk Index. However, with the personalization possible with an Internet-based tool, the Harvard Cancer Risk Index was developed into an online assessment and renamed Your Cancer Risk and offered assessments for four cancers: breast, colon, lung, and prostate. The site was launched in January 2000, and six months later, eight additional cancers were added, bringing the total to twelve.

In 2004, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis were added to the tool, and the site was renamed Your Disease Risk to better reflect the range of disorders covered by the assessment. That many of the common chronic diseases share many risk factors, the expansion of the site to Your Disease Risk was thought to better promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle to lowering disease risks and improving health.

In 2007, the site moved from the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health to the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

Your Disease Risk has a simple, straightforward interface. Questionnaires can be completed in a matter of minutes, and for each disease, the site offers both a visual and verbal risk estimate as well as personalized tips for prevention. The site can also show users what their risk could be should they adopt various healthy behaviors. Tailored screening tips and recommendations for making health changes in communities are also part of site results.

The calculations and algorithms used to calculate and display risk estimates in Your Disease Risk are the product of an ongoing process of expert consensus. Epidemiologists, clinicians, and other health specialists regularly review the current scientific evidence for each disease, identifying the established and probable risk factors of each. This information is then used to develop or revise calculations that generate a user???s risk of disease compared to average risk in the population for someone of the same age and sex.

In a published validation study, Your Disease Risk was found to provide well calibrated estimates of cancer risk relative to the general population. For women, discriminatory accuracy for colon cancer was 0.67, for ovarian cancer 0.59, and for pancreatic cancer was 0.71. For men, discriminatory accuracy for colon cancer was 0.71 and for pancreatic cancer was 0.72. These values exceed performance of many other cancer risk prediction tools.

The approach used to calculate cancer risks in Your Disease Risk are used to calculate the risks of other diseases on the site (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis). Validation studies of these are ongoing, but initial findings show they also have good discriminatory accuracy.

A recent winner of the eHealthcare Leadership Award, Your Disease Risk has also been the topic of multiple articles from major media outlets, including: the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Guardian Online, and US News and World Report.

  • Your Disease Risk

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Your Disease Risk".

Last Modified:   2010-11-25

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