Want to know the chances of your death in the near future along with its cause? Well, then log on to www.DeathRiskRankings.com.
The new website, developed by researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University, allows users to query publicly available data from the United States and Europe, and compare mortality risks by gender, age, cause of death and geographic region.
The Web site not only gives the risk of dying within the next year, but it also ranks the probable causes and allows for quick side-by-side comparison between groups.
For example, if a person wanted to know who is more likely to die next year from breast cancer-a 54-year-old Pennsylvania woman or her counterpart in the United Kingdom.
“This is the only place to look. It turns out that the British woman has a 33 percent higher risk of breast cancer death. But for lung/throat cancer, the results are almost reversed, and the Pennsylvania woman has a 29 percent higher risk,” said Paul Fischbeck, site developer and professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy (EPP) at Carnegie Mellon.
“Most Americans don’t have a particularly good understanding of their own mortality risks, let alone ranking of their relevant risks,” said David Gerard, a former EPP professor at Carnegie Mellon.
They found that beyond infancy, the risk of dying increases annually at an exponential rate.
A 20-year-old U.S. woman has a 1 in 2,000 (or 0.05 percent) chance of dying in the next year.
By 40 years of age, the risk is three times greater, by age 60, it is 16 times greater; and by age 80, it is 100 times greater (around 1 in 20 or 5 percent).
“The risks are higher, but still not that bad. At 80, the average U.S. woman still has a 95 percent chance of making it to her 81st birthday,” said Gerard.
The researchers are hoping that the new Web site will help bring focus to some of the discussion now raging over health care policy in the United States.
“It’s much easier to make a persuasive argument when you have the facts to back it up, and this site provides all sides with the facts. We believe that this tool, which allows anyone to assess their own risk of dying and to compare their risks with counterparts in the United States and Europe, could help inform the public and constructively engage them in the debate,” said Fischbeck.