It is well known that the incidence of cancer is increasing due to a lower fraction of deaths from other causes. However, there are many articles (probably sharing the same source) stating that the probability of an individual developing cancer during their lifetime is a whopping 50%.

Men's Health:

half of all adults will get a cancer diagnosis, according to a new study from the British Journal of Cancer, which predicts that one out of every two U.K. adults born in 1960 will develop the disease during their lifetime.

Is there any grain of truth to this number?

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    The paper in question
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 13:25
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    Your title says "after 1960" which is very different from "in 1960". Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 14:11
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    I'm not sure this is a question this site can address. The claim is a prediction about the future, so we certainly can't resolve it as "true" or "false" until years from now when we have seen what actually happened. The question of whether the prediction is a reasonable extrapolation from evidence is a matter of professional opinion, not scientific fact. In the paper, you have the professional opinions of well qualified scientists, backed by peer review. No offense to users of this site, but how is the opinion of amateurs going to improve on that? Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:23
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    Current estimates of the lifetime risk of developing cancer are at 42% for men and 38% for women, and this has been going up. So the claim seems thoroughly plausible. But I agree that as a prediction, it can't really be proven or debunked to the standards of this site. cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/…
    – user11522
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 12:46
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    @shortstheory- Remember that developing it is not the same as dying from it. Plus, people exacerbate the risk through lifestyle (so it'll be much lower for people that don't smoke and exercise regularly etc) and there are promising medical solutions that could help in future. I for one am still on track for eternity. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 14:27


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