Monday, December 10, 2007

A Word About Percentages

When researchers say you can reduce your risk of recurrence by, say 50 percent, they mean 50 percent of your original prognosis. That is, docs base your specific chance of survival on the size of your tumor, its grade, receptor status, and whether or not it has spread.

So, say they give you an 80 percent chance of survival; you have a 20 percent chance of recurrence. If you eat a low-fat diet that reduces your recurrence rate by an additional 42 percent, you cut an additional 8.2 percent off (20% X 42%), so your likelihood of recurrence is cut to 11.8 percent (20%-8.2%).

And, the worse your initial odds, the more payoff you might get from modifying your diet. For example, if you have a 50-50 chance and you opt for the low-fat approach, you can cut your chance of recurrence to 29 percent (50% X 42% = 21%; 50% - 21% = 29%), which makes all those carrots and apples worth a serious try.

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