Reliability of self-reported diagnostic radiation history in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers

Eur J Epidemiol. 2010 Feb;25(2):103-13. doi: 10.1007/s10654-009-9416-x.


We assessed reliability of self-reported diagnostic radiation history in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with and without breast cancer. Within the frame-work of the HEBON study, 401 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers completed a baseline (1999-2004) and a follow-up questionnaire (2006-2007). Test-retest reliability of self-reported exposure to chest X-rays, fluoroscopies and mammograms was assessed for the entire study population and by case status.Overall proportion agreement on reporting ever/never exposure was good ([75%), while the corresponding kappa coefficients were between 0.40 and 0.75, indicating at least moderate reliability beyond chance. Reliability of number of exposures was also good ([75%). Proportion agreement on reporting age at first mammogram was low(40%) for exact consistency and moderate (60%) for consistency +/- 1 year. Reliability of age at first mammogram was higher for cases than for unaffected carriers(P\0.001) but this difference disappeared when excluding diagnostic mammograms (P = 0.60). In unaffected carriers proportion agreement on age at last mammogram was 50%. In general, the direction of disagreement on all items was equally distributed. More consistent reporting was mainly determined by a younger age at questionnaire completion. In conclusion, inconsistent self-report of diagnostic radiation by BRCA1/2 mutation carriers was mainly non-differential by disease status.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiography, Thoracic / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult