Background: Why physicians use surveillance imaging for asymptomatic cancer survivors despite recommendations against this is not known. Methods: Physicians surveilling head and neck cancer survivors were surveyed to determine relationships among attitudes, beliefs, guideline familiarity, and self-reported surveillance positron-emission-tomography/computed-tomography use. Results: Among 459 responses, 79% reported using PET/CT on some asymptomatic patients; 39% reported using PET/CT on more than half of patients. Among attitudes/beliefs, perceived value of surveillance imaging (O.R. 3.57, C.I. 2.42-5.27, P = <.0001) was the strongest predictor of high imaging, including beliefs about outcome (improved survival) and psychological benefits (reassurance, better communication). Twenty-four percent of physicians were unfamiliar with guideline recommendations against routine surveillance imaging. Among physicians with high perceived-value scores, those less familiar with guidelines imaged more (O.R. 3.55, C.I. 1.08-11.67, P =.037). Conclusions: Interventions to decrease routine surveillance PET/CT use for asymptomatic patients must overcome physicians' misperceptions of its value. Education about guidelines may modify the effect of perceived value.
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