Projecting individualized probabilities of developing breast cancer for white females who are being examined annually

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1989 Dec 20;81(24):1879-86. doi: 10.1093/jnci/81.24.1879.


To assist in medical counseling, we present a method to estimate the chance that a woman with given age and risk factors will develop breast cancer over a specified interval. The risk factors used were age at menarche, age at first live birth, number of previous biopsies, and number of first-degree relatives with breast cancer. A model of relative risks for various combinations of these factors was developed from case-control data from the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project (BCDDP). The model allowed for the fact that relative risks associated with previous breast biopsies were smaller for women aged 50 or more than for younger women. Thus, the proportional hazards models for those under age 50 and for those of age 50 or more. The baseline age-specific hazard rate, which is the rate for a patient without identified risk factors, is computed as the product of the observed age-specific composite hazard rate times the quantity 1 minus the attributable risk. We calculated individualized breast cancer probabilities from information on relative risks and the baseline hazard rate. These calculations take competing risks and the interval of risk into account. Our data were derived from women who participated in the BCDDP and who tended to return for periodic examinations. For this reason, the risk projections given are probably most reliable for counseling women who plan to be examined about once a year.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Probability
  • Risk
  • White People