Background: Exposure to radiation from different non-medical sources in the community is given more attention in the media. The effects of radiologic examination, however, seldom receive the same amount of interest.
Material and methods: 295 patients were interviewed immediately after an X-ray examination at Haukeland Hospital to investigate what they knew about the effects of X-rays on the human body. In addition we wanted to find out whether referring doctors had informed their patients about possible unwanted effects of the radiological examination.
Results: The patients were more aware of possible effects of radiation from high-voltage cables than of the effects from X-raying. Only three patients had been informed by their referring doctors that X-ray examination could have unwanted effects.
Interpretation: Information to patients about diagnostic radiation should be improved.