Lymphoma Cancer Survivors Face Higher Risk of Second Cancer:
Today’s entry is another bad news/good news type of report that’s based entirely on how statistics are reported from medical studies.The bad news is that according to a recent Reuters news story, “Survivors of Lymphoma Cancer face a 30 percent increased risk of a second malignancy…” The Reuters report was based on an article published in the April 1, 2006, issue of The Journal of Clinical Oncology.Well, a 30 percent increased risk sounds worrisome. But what if I told you that if you have been treated for Lymphoma Cancer you really only have a 1 in 10 chance of getting a second cancer? Maybe that’s not exactly good news, but it sure sounds better than a 30 percent increased risk.
But how can both things be true? It’s all in the way the statistics are calculated.What the Reuters report did not make clear is that the 30 percent increased risk of a second cancer is a relative risk in comparison to the general population. What this means is that if you take the whole population and predict that under normal conditions they would be expected to have 100 cancers (just for example), then you’d predict that a group of treated Lymphoma Cancer patients would have 130 cancers.