Archive for risk assessment

an increase of 18% a day?!

Posted in Books, Statistics with tags , , , , on June 3, 2017 by xi'an

A striking figure I saw earlier this week in a newspaper and confirmed by checking on the World Health Organisation (WHO) today:

…if the association of red meat and colorectal cancer were proven to be causal, data from the same studies suggest that the risk of colorectal cancer could increase by 17% for every 100 gram portion of red meat eaten daily…

The way I interpret this sentence and the every in it when I read it is that each time I eat a portion of 100g of red meat, my probability of getting a cancer increases by 17%. Actually the previous sentence in the report sounds even more dire:

An analysis of data from 10 studies estimated that every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%.

Which means that eating a sausage a day would multiply the probability by about… 10²³! This cannot be: turning statistics into “plain” language  can be so confusing! Or else pardon my French!!!