Synthesizing Risk from Summary Evidence Across Multiple Risk Factors


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Abstract

Although meta-analyses provide summary effect estimates that help advise patient care, patients often want to compare their overall health to the general population. The Harvard Cancer Risk Index was published in 2004 and uses risk ratio estimates and prevalence estimates from original studies across many risk factors to provide an answer to this question. However, the published version of the formula only uses dichotomous risk factors and its derivation was not provided. The objective of this brief report was to provide the derivation of a more general form of the equation that allows the incorporation of risk factors with three or more levels.

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