Attributable risk - data visualisation of the results
To illustrate the results in the supplement to the British Journal of Cancer (The Fraction of Cancer Attributable to Lifestyle and Environmental Factors in the UK in 2010), we have produced the data visualisation below. For more information about how these results were calculated see the background and methodology elsewhere in this section. A more detailed summary of the results is also available.
The data visualisation presents a line for each cancer representing the number of people diagnosed with each cancer applied to actual cancer incidence in 2008. From breast cancer at one end, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, through to gallbladder cancer at the other. Each cancer type is split by sex. So, breast cancer is almost all pink but there is a thin segment at the end representing the 300 cases of male breast cancer.
On top of the line is a highlighted area that denotes the proportion of that cancer that is preventable. For breast cancer, this is approximately a quarter (26.8%) of all cases so this proportion of the breast cancer line is highlighted. For lung cancer almost 9 in 10 cases (89.2%) are caused by preventable causes (predominantly tobacco smoke).
The highlighted area for each site is broken down further into the different causes of cancer. For lung cancer these causes are tobacco smoke, occupational exposure, a lack of fruit and vegetables in the diet and radiation. It is important to remember that each cancer diagnosis can have more than one cause so the sum of the causes is not the same as the total number of preventable cancers. For example 24% of kidney cancers are caused by tobacco smoke but there are also 24% of kidney cancers caused by people being overweight. The total number of kidney cancers is not 48% but 42% as some cases will be caused by both tobacco smoking and obesity.
The circles alongside the lines identify the number of preventable causes for each site. The additional circles aggregate the number of preventable causes for all cancers.
section updated 07/12/11
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