The science behind My CancerIQ
The My CancerIQ assessments are based on the latest scientific evidence about cancer risk factors.
All questions asked concern factors or behaviours that research has shown are linked to the risk of developing a specific type of cancer. Based on the scientific evidence, each factor is given a number showing how much it either increases or decreases the risk of cancer. As you complete an assessment, your personal risk is calculated based on these numbers. Your risk is then compared to the average risk of Ontarians of the same age and sex for that cancer.
The risk category you are given when you complete a My CancerIQ assessment is calculated relative to the population of Ontario and uses Ontario-specific data. Other online cancer risk calculators may use data from other populations or studies or use different cut-offs to determine risk level. For this reason, the risk level you are assigned to may vary between different calculators.
Cancer is influenced by many different factors, some of which may still be poorly studied or understood. As a result, My CancerIQ can only estimate the relative risk of developing a specific cancer and cannot predict precisely who will or will not be diagnosed with cancer in the future.
When it comes to your results, here are some things to keep in mind:
- High risk or much higher than average risk (breast and lung cancer only): These categories reflect the fact that you have a factor or factors that greatly increase your risk compared to most people. For instance, certain genetic mutations greatly increase the risk of breast cancer. If you fall into these categories, you will want to talk with your healthcare provider about screening or other options to help manage your risk.
- Higher than average risk: Falling into this category means your risk may be greater than most Ontarians of the same age and sex. Check your risk assessment report or talk with your healthcare provider about what you can do to reduce your risk.
- Average risk: This means your risk is similar to most Ontarians your age and sex. It doesn’t mean your risk is necessarily low — just that it is no higher than most people like you. The important thing to remember is that many forms of cancer are preventable. Making positive changes could help to reduce your risk.
- Lower than average risk: This means your risk appears to be lower than most Ontarians your age and sex. This does not mean you will never develop that form of cancer so it’s important to continue doing things that help keep your risk down. Risk factors can also change over time. We recommend you repeat the assessments from time to time to see how your risk may have changed.