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Last Updated: 11/06/20

Should I participate in an imaging clinical trial?

In any clinical trial, there are risks and benefits to consider when deciding whether or not to participate. To learn more about risks and benefits of clinical trials, go to Should I Take Part in a Clinical Trial?

Some factors that are specific to imaging trials you may wish to consider are:

  • Some imaging procedures may be uncomfortable, such as lying for a period of time in a magnetic resonance or CT scanner.
  • If two imaging techniques are being compared and you receive both, you might be subject to more X-rays or radioactive substances than if you did not participate in the trial. Having more than one test will take extra time although frequently there is added benefit from both tests.
  • Some studies may require injection of contrast agents that increase the ability of an imaging technique to tell the differences between tumors and normal cells. Injection of these agents may require an injection into a vein for access to the blood stream (an I.V.). The contrast agents could cause discomfort, or in rare instances an allergic reaction may occur.
  • Most trials cover the cost of the imaging procedures but in some circumstances health insurance may be relied upon. Your coverage may not include some or all of these costs. For more information on dealing with cost and coverage barriers, see the description of the specific trial as well as Clinical Trials and Insurance Coverage: A Resource Guide.