An example of risk ladder

Reproduced from Lipkus, I.M. 2007. Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risk: Suggested best practices and future recommendations. Medical Decision Making, 27, (5) 696-713.

The risk ladder above shows the additional risk of cancer deaths by radon level in units of picocuries per litre (pCi/L). Since the unit is unfamiliar to many people, the radon level is anchored to smoking risk and its association to cancer deaths. The technical information on the measures such as the impact of radon levels would requirefurther explanation. The use of number of cigarettes smoked per day as anchor on the risk ladder can be difficult to understand and can be perceived differently to those who smoke and to those who do not smoke.Anchors to everyday risks have been suggested to be valuable to patients¡¯ perception of risk (see Edwards 2002).