International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 569–578 | Cite as

Prevalence and Correlates of Worry About Medical Imaging Radiation Among United States Cancer Survivors

  • Jennifer L. HayEmail author
  • Raymond E. Baser
  • Joy S. Westerman
  • Jennifer S. Ford



Cancer survivors undergo lifelong surveillance regimens that involve repeated diagnostic medical imaging. As many of these diagnostic tests use ionizing radiation, which may modestly increase cancer risks, they may present a source of worry for survivors. The aims of this paper are to describe cancer survivors’ level of worry about medical imaging radiation (MIR) and to identify patterns of MIR worry across subgroups defined by cancer type, other medical and demographic factors, and physician trust.


This cross-sectional study used the 2012–2013 Health Information National Trends Survey of US adults conducted by the National Cancer Institute. The analysis focused on the 452 respondents identifying as cancer survivors. Weighted logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate factors associated with higher MIR worry (reporting “some” or “a lot” of MIR worry).


Nearly half (42%) of the sample reported higher worry about MIR. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regressions indicated higher rates of MIR worry among those with lower incomes, those who self-reported poorer health, and those who completed cancer treatment within the past 10 years. Receipt of radiation treatment was associated with higher MIR worry in unadjusted analysis.


Worries about MIR are relatively common among cancer survivors. An accurate assessment of the rates and patterns of worry could aid efforts to improve these individuals’ survivorship care and education.


Radiation Worry Medical imaging National sample Cancer survivorship 



We thank Jillisia James for her help in completing this manuscript.

Funding Information

We received funding support from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Support/Core Grant (P30 CA008748).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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