Your Disease Risk

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Your Disease Risk is a publicly available health risk assessment tool on the Internet.[1] Launched in early 2000 and continually updated, the site offers risk assessments for twelve different cancers and four other important chronic diseases: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

The site began in 1998 as a pen and paper questionnaire called the Harvard Cancer Risk Index.[2] In January 2000, The Harvard Cancer Risk Index developed into an online assessment and was renamed Your Cancer Risk, and offered assessments for four cancers: breast, colon, lung, and prostate. Six months later, eight additional cancers were added.[3]

In 2004, the site was renamed Your Disease Risk to reflect the addition of four further conditions: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Since many common chronic diseases share risk factors, the renaming promoted the importance of a healthy lifestyle to lowering disease risks.

In 2007, the site moved to the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

In 2012, researchers released a related iPad app, called Zuum, that offers customized advice for healthier living based on an individual's diet, exercise and other habits.[4]

In December 2018, the site was re-designed to work across multiple screen sizes - from smartphone to desktop - and a new "Snapshot" tool was added, which provides a quick estimate of 6 diseases from one brief questionnaire.

User Experience[edit]

Your Disease Risk has a simple, straightforward interface. Questionnaires can be completed in a matter of minutes, and for each disease, the site offers both a visual and verbal risk estimate as well as personalized tips for prevention. The site can also show users what their risk could be should they adopt various healthy behaviors. Tailored screening tips and recommendations for making health changes in communities are also part of site results.


The calculations and algorithms used to calculate and display risk estimates in Your Disease Risk are the product of an ongoing process of expert consensus.[2] Epidemiologists, clinicians, and other health specialists regularly review the current scientific evidence for each disease, identifying established and probable risk factors for each. This information is then used to develop or revise calculations that generate a user’s risk of disease compared to average risk in the population for someone of the same age and sex.

A validation study found Your Disease Risk to provide well calibrated estimates[5] of cancer risk in the general population. For individual women, the discriminatory accuracy[5] for colon cancer was 0.67, for ovarian cancer 0.59, and for pancreatic cancer was 0.71. For individual men, the discriminatory accuracy[5] for colon cancer was 0.71 and for pancreatic cancer was 0.72. These values exceed the performance of many other cancer risk prediction tools.[6][7]

The approach used to calculate cancer risks in Your Disease. Risk is also used to calculate the risks of the other diseases.[8] Validation studies for these non-cancer estimates are ongoing.[9]

Awards and Media[edit]

A winner of the eHealthcare Leadership Award,[10] Your Disease Risk has also been the topic of articles in major media outlets.[11][12][13][14]


  1. ^ Crokcer, MK. SPH Web Site Predicts Cancer Risk. The Harvard Crimson. January 26, 20000
  2. ^ a b Colditz GA, Atwood KA, Emmons K, et al. (July 2000). "Harvard report on cancer prevention volume 4: Harvard Cancer Risk Index. Risk Index Working Group, Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention" (PDF). Cancer Causes Control. 11 (6): 477–88. PMID 10880030.
  3. ^ Voelker R (July 2000). "Quick uptakes: online risk assessment expands". JAMA. 284 (4): 430. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.430-b. PMID 10904490.
  4. ^ Moore, Elizabeth Armstrong. "Free iPad app guesses your risk for common diseases". Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Kim DJ, Rockhill B, Colditz GA (April 2004). "Validation of the Harvard Cancer Risk Index: a prediction tool for individual cancer risk". J Clin Epidemiol. 57 (4): 332–40. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2003.08.013. PMID 15135833.
  6. ^ Rockhill B, Spiegelman D, Byrne C, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA (March 2001). "Validation of the Gail et al. model of breast cancer risk prediction and implications for chemoprevention". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 93 (5): 358–66. doi:10.1093/jnci/93.5.358. PMID 11238697.
  7. ^ Park Y, Freedman AN, Gail MH, et al. (February 2009). "Validation of a colorectal cancer risk prediction model among white patients age 50 years and older". J. Clin. Oncol. 27 (5): 694–8. doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.17.4813. PMC 2645089. PMID 19114700.
  8. ^ About This Site. Your Disease Risk. 2009.
  9. ^ Colditz, G. Personal Communication. 2009.
  10. ^ Strategic Health Care Communications. Best Interactive Site. 2008 eHealth Leadership Awards.
  11. ^ Parker-Pope, T. Website Tallies Your Risk of Disease and Tells You What You Can Do About It. Wall Street Journal. October 31, 2006.
  12. ^ Favorite Health Resources. New York Times. September 29, 2008.
  13. ^ Revill, J. Harvard can now assess your health risks via the internet. The Guardian. July 4, 2004.
  14. ^ Health: Finding a Diagnosis. US News and World Report. November 12, 2006.

External links[edit]