Patient to Peer: Scanxiety

Scanxiety is exactly what it sounds like: anxiety induced by the fear of upcoming scan. Scans tell us whether our cancer has come back, or maybe even spread and worsened. For me, I have upcoming scans in about a week, so it's actively on my mind. It isn’t something that will go away until after the results are given, and it only worsens until ease comes. Even scans while on treatment were horrifying because we’re always worried about the cancer not dying, spreading, or getting larger – all bad signs for someone trying to recover. But we need them, there isn’t another way to make sure everything is fine; or whether it isn’t fine, so the cancer may be treated properly, and quickly.

The problem with scanxiety is how it lasts until the results are given, and it can begin as soon as an appointment is made. In my case, fortunately, my scanxiety didn’t start until recently. Still, it started over a week before my scan, and well over a week before I will be given the results. Since the time frame is over such a long period of time, it can be hard to ask for help, especially because it’s something that most people can’t personally relate to. Even academically, being in college, I can’t particularly ask a professor to postpone an exam for me since the timing isn’t in sync with the appointment. Requesting a delay on a test when every lecture there’s a new lesson, isn’t something that’s realistically plausible. Rather than looking at it entirely negatively, I do my best to focus on academics rather than my scans; it is much better to be worried about upcoming exams than it is to be worried about whether my cancer has recurred.