[R] A stats question -- about survival analysis and censoring

From: Geoff Russell <geoffrey.russell_at_gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 23:16:10 +1030

Dear UseRs,

Suppose I have data regarding smoking habits of a prospective cohort and wish to determine the risk ratio of colorectal cancer in the smokers compared to the non-smokers. What do I do at the end of the study with people who die of heart disease? Can I just censor them exactly the same as people who become uncontactable or who die in a plane crash? If not, why not?

I'm thinking that heart disease isn't independent of smoking even though a death from heart disease is probably uninformative about colorectal cancer risk. Hence
I suspect simply censoring these deaths will introduce a bias, but I don't know how to correct for it.

Many thanks,

Geoff Russell -- an interested student

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