See a list of Decision Points about medical tests. Decision Points are designed to guide you through key health decisions, combining medical information with your personal values to make a wise health decision.
Medical tests are important tools, but they have limits. Informed consumers know medical tests have costs and risks as well as benefits.
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Is there a less expensive test that might give the same information?
If a test seems costly, risky, or not likely to change the recommended treatment, ask your doctor if you can avoid it. Try to agree on the best approach. No test can be done without your permission, and you have the right to refuse a test.
Talk to your doctor
What are your concerns about the test?
What do you expect the test to do for you? Are your expectations realistic?
What prescription and nonprescription medicines are you taking?
What other medical conditions do you have?
Do you prefer to have the test or not?
If you agree to a test, ask what you can do to reduce the chance of errors. Should you restrict food, alcohol, exercise, or medicines before the test? After the test, ask to review the results. Take notes for your home records. If the results are unexpected and the error rate of the test is high, consider redoing the test before basing further treatment on the results.