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Definition of prevalence

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Updated October 09, 2012

Definition:

Prevalence is the number of people living with a particular disease during a specified period of time.

Whereas incidence describes the number of new cases of a disease diagnosed during a particular time, prevalence includes all cases of that disease, both new and existing, in a particular population.

Examples:
The incidence (number of new cases per year) of lung cancer is higher than breast cancer, but the prevalence is lower, since the survival rate for lung cancer is lower.

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