Friday, November 20, 2009

Math, Risk, and Cancer

Here's a good article from Slate on the new mammogram recommendations. The article asks, Why can we discuss sports in an intelligent, statistically--savvy way -- but not health?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, for one thing (she says, not having read the article) people have an intrinsically statistical relationship with sports. They follow a team for years, they watch many games. They know that it's about probabilities and likelihoods, because that's their direct experience. So mathematically systematizing those things they already know isn't much of a stretch.

On the other hand, people have an inherently anecdotal experience with their health -- their own, their close family, a few dear friends. If your sister had her life saved by a mammogram that found a lump at 41, that's your only direct experience, and that's what's going to inform your decisions.