Posted on August 17, 2004
Your Disease Risk
PND On the Web (08/17/04) -- Your Disease Risk
To promote prevention as the primary approach to controlling cancer and other important chronic diseases.
Your Disease Risk is the expansion of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention's cancer risk assessment Web site. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis now join the twelve cancers included in the original Web site, Your Cancer Risk, which was launched in 2000. Together these diseases have a huge impact on the nation's health, but they are also highly preventable and share many of the same risk factors (for instance, healthy lifestyles could prevent over 80 percent of heart disease and diabetes, 70 percent of strokes, and over 50 percent of cancers). Epidemiologists, clinicians, and other faculty experts from the Harvard medical community reviewed the current scientific evidence for each disease, identifying the established and probable risk factors of each. This information was then used to develop calculations that generate a person's risk of disease compared to population averages by age and sex. Users can enter the site and within a few minutes find out what their risk is and how to lower it. Your Disease Risk is an educational Web site for informational purposes only and should not take the place of regular medical checkups.
Users select a disease on the homepage of the Web site and fill out a brief questionnaire (sex, age, previous diagnosis of the disease, diet, medical history, family history), mostly requiring "yes" or "no" answers. Afterward, the result showing degree of risk appears in a bar graph with seven colored increments from "low" to "high." Explanatory notes let users know what they're doing right, what could be improved, and how to do so. The Web site also provides a list of nine ways to prevent disease, definitions of prevention and risk, how to estimate risk, and suggestions for community action for each of the diseases.
Director: Graham Colditz, M.D., DRPH
677 Huntington Avenue
Landmark 3 East
Tel: (617) 998-1034