Current opinions on medical radiation: a survey of oncologists regarding radiation exposure and dose reduction in oncology patients.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate oncologists' opinions about the use of ionizing radiation in medical imaging of oncology patients. METHODS: An electronic survey was e-mailed to 2,725 oncologists at the top 50 National Cancer Institute-funded cancer centers. The survey focused on opinions on CT dose reduction in oncology patients and current philosophies behind long-term imaging in these patients. RESULTS: The response rate was 15% (415 of 2,725). Eighty-two percent of respondents stated that their patients or families have expressed anxiety regarding radiation dose from medical imaging. Although fewer than half of oncologists (48%) did not know whether CT dose reduction techniques were used at their institutions, only 25% were concerned that small lesions may be missed with low-dose CT techniques. The majority of oncologists (63%) follow National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for imaging follow-up, while the remainder follow other national guidelines such as those of the Children's Oncology Group, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or clinical trials. Ninety percent of respondents believe that long-term surveillance in oncology patients is warranted, particularly in patients with breast cancer, melanoma, sarcoma, and pediatric malignancies. The majority of oncologists would consider the use of low-dose CT imaging in specific patient populations: (1) children and young women, (2) those with malignancies that do not routinely metastasize to the liver, and (3) patients undergoing surveillance imaging. CONCLUSIONS: Cumulative radiation exposure is a concern for patients and oncologists. Among oncologists, there is support for long-term imaging surveillance despite lack of national guidelines.
Burke, LMB; Bashir, MR; Neville, AM; Nelson, RC; Jaffe, TA
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