Objective: Calculation of valid and detailed risks of cancer from, and up to, specific ages for inhabitants of the Netherlands.
Design: Secondary analyses of cancer incidence and mortality rates.
Method: Gender and age-specific incidence rates of 56 different types of cancer were obtained from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Gender and age-specific mortality rates were obtained from Statistics Netherlands. Using survival charts, risks of cancer were calculated from all ages and up to all ages, in steps of 5 years. The US National Cancer Institute's software programme DevCan was used for analyses.
Results: One out of every 2.3 newborn males (43.9%) and one out of every 2.6 newborn females (38.1%) in the Netherlands will develop cancer sometime during their life. The risk of developing cancer before the age of 80 is 35.9% for newborn males and 30.2% for newborn females. Women run the greatest risk of developing breast cancer (almost 13%). 50-year-old women have a risk of almost 3% of being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 60. Men have the greatest risk of a diagnosis of prostate cancer (almost 10%). The risk for a 50-year-old man of being diagnosed with prostate cancer within the subsequent 10 years however is less than 1%.
Conclusion: Detailed rates of risks of cancer are useful for policy issues such as decisions to implement screening programmes, for public education, and for patient counselling, as in the field of clinical genetics. The routinely reported risks for newborns developing cancer before the age of 75 lack the necessary detail for such use.