Journal Article

Comparison of Documented and Recalled Histories of Exposure to Diagnostic X-rays in Case-Control Studies of Thyroid Cancer

Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, Anders Ekbom, Andrew G. Glass, Maria Rosaria Galanti, Lars Grimelius, Michael J. Allison and Peter D. Inskip

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 157, issue 7, pages 652-663
Published in print April 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Comparison of Documented and Recalled Histories of Exposure to Diagnostic  X-rays in Case-Control Studies of Thyroid Cancer

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Most information concerning possible cancer risks attributable to lifetime exposure to diagnostic x-rays comes from studies in which x-ray history was ascertained by interview or questionnaire, but little is known about the accuracy of such information. The authors assessed agreement between medical x-ray histories obtained through interview and by review of medical records from thyroid cancer case-control studies conducted in Sweden (1985–1992; 123 cases and 123 controls) and from members of a prepaid health plan in the United States (1986–1991; 50 cases and 50 controls). In both studies, substantial disagreement was found between the numbers of x-ray examinations reported in the interview and in the medical records. There was an indication of relatively poorer reporting among controls, particularly for certain types of x-ray examinations and for large numbers of such examinations. Estimates of the risk associated with exposure to diagnostic x-rays were similar, regardless of whether interview or medical record data were used, even though ordinal dose classifications based on the two sources differed considerably. In populations with a high frequency of exposure, spurious associations with numbers of x-ray examinations or estimated thyroid dose might arise because of differences in recall. However, in the present data, reporting errors by cases and controls seemed to be largely nondifferential.

Keywords: interviews; medical records; radiography; recall; thyroid neoplasms

Journal Article.  6972 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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