It is generally acknowledged that conventional estimates of the potential number of life years to be gained by elimination of causes of death are too generous. This is because these estimates fail to take into account the fact that those who are saved from the cause are likely to have one or more other conditions ("competing" causes of death), which may increase their risks of dying. It is unknown to what extent this introduces bias in comparisons of life years to be gained between underlying causes of death. The purpose of the study was to assess this bias.
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