Standardized Lifetime Risk

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Abstract

The authors propose the use of two new standardized measures of risk, the standardized lifetime risk and the standardized number of years of life lost. These measures maintain the advantages of standardized rates but are more readily understood without special training. In this paper, standardizing weights based on 1992 data from England and Wales are provided, and the new measures are illustrated with a variety of examples. The new standardized rates are useful for examining trends over time; for comparing the impact of various diseases on public health; and for comparing rates of a given disease in several different countries. The authors think it is far more informative to say that 41 out of every 1,000 women die of breast cancer than to say that the standardized mortality rate is 51 per 100,000 women per year.

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