“Scanxiety” – defined by the anxiety surrounding having scans, can be overwhelming for many people.
Interesting read from the Memorial Sloan Kettering website. I am glad they addressed it.
Patients may undergo many scans after therapy is completed. The worry with each of these can be great.
“The unpredictability of the outcome of a scan can be quite stressful,” says Laura Liberman, a breast imaging expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering and a cancer survivor. “Studies have actually shown that having a follow-up scan can trigger classic symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder in breast cancer survivors.”
Between 4-22 percent of “cancer survivors have a risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lifetimes. (1)”
Such symptoms which invade the survivors life include, but not limited to: intrusive thoughts, irritability, and sleeplessness, social functioning, and work.
To decrease the anxiety associated with appointments would be to surround yourself by your positive support unit.
Expect to wait for the appointment, so you don’t get disappointed/irritated while waiting for the scan. If you schedule for the earliest appointments, you will minimize your wait time.
Have a friend/family member with you to provide support and good distraction while at your scanxiety appointment.
Try relaxation techniques to decrease stress/worry.
Make sure you schedule a follow up appointment with the ordering physician several days after the scan to review results. Do not review results over the telephone to avoid miscommunications.
Andrykowski, Michael and Maria Kangas. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Associated with Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment.” In Holland, Breitbart, et. al, eds. Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford, 2010, p. 353.