Cancer Terms

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  • Absolute risk

    The difference between two risks, usually smaller than a relative risk.

  • Average/mean

    The middle value of a set of numbers, calculated by adding all of the values and dividing by the number of values in the set.

  • Clinical significance

    An assessment that a research finding will have practical effects on patient care.

  • Cohort

    A group of individuals who share a common experience, exposure, or trait and who are under observation in a research study.

  • Confidence interval

    A measure of the number of times out of 100 (similar to a percentage) that test results will be within a specified range. It is a measurement used to indicate the reliability of an estimate.

  • Confounding variable

    A factor in a scientific study that wasn’t addressed that could affect the outcome of the study, such as smoking history in a study of people with cancer.

  • Control group

    A group of individuals who do not receive the treatment being studied. Researchers compare this group to the group of individuals who do receive the treatment, which helps them evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

  • Endpoint

    The results measured at the end of a study to see whether the research question was answered.

  • Incidence

    The number of new instances of a disease or condition in a particular population during a specific period. Learn more about statistics used to estimate risk and recommend screening.

  • Lifetime risk

    The probability of developing a disease or dying from that disease across a person’s lifetime.

  • Median

    The middle value in a range of measurements ordered by value.

  • Mortality rate

    The number of deaths in a particular population during a specific time.

  • Odds ratio

    A comparison of whether the likelihood of an event is similar between two groups; a ratio of 1 means it is equally likely between both groups.

  • Outcome

    A measurable result or effect.

  • Relative risk

    Compares the risk of disease between two groups of people.