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  •  No. What that means is... (1+ / 0-)
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    think blue

    if you have 26 or more lifetime sexual partners, you have triple the risk of getting oropharyngeal cancer, compared with those having fewer partners than that. And if you have 6 or more oral sex partners, you also have triple the risk of cancer, compared to someone who did not have that many partners.

    Odds ratios are always relative risks compared to a baseline population, whose "relative" risk is assigned a value of 1. That doesn't mean that population has zero risk, however. It just means that the comparator populations have a different risk (in this case, three times higher).

    That doesn't say anything about the overall risk. So, the baseline population can have cancer rate that is a 1 in a million, or 1 in 1000, or 1 in 100. The odds ratio is the relative risk compared to that base rate. So, if the base rate is 1 in 1 million, triple the risk is 3 in a million.

    Fun with numbers.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Fri May 18, 2007 at 06:50:46 AM PDT

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