10 tips for coping with scanxiety by a cancer survivor

As the name suggests, scanxiety is the anxiety a person feels in the lead-up to a cancer-detecting scan. It also includes the anxiety when waiting for the results after a scan.

On Cure Today, childhood cancer survivor Tori Tomalia talks about her 10 tips for coping with scanxiety.

Tori was cancer-free for over 20 years before she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The mother of three is also a wife, theatre artist, writer and lung cancer awareness advocate. Since her diagnosis in 2013 she has been having scans every three months.

She says, “The week or so leading up to my scans I, like clockwork, come down with a nasty case of PSS: Pre-Scan Syndrome. It mimics all the emotional symptoms of PMS, with irritability, heightened emotions and general crabbiness, and lasts through when I get my scan results.”

Some of her tips include:

  • Distraction – “Binge watch episodes of your favorite TV show. Dig into a great book and get lost in the story. Go somewhere fun that you have never been before. “
  • Loud Music – Crank up the radio! Blast 80s music! Belt show tunes! It’s hard think about scans while reenacting scenes from Flashdance, and I challenge you to feel anxious while singing “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
  • Acknowledge It – “Acknowledging what I am feeling and why can help to make it more manageable for myself and those around me.”
  • Know When and How You Will Get Your Results – “Discuss with your doctor how you will find out the results so that you don’t have the extra layer of anxiety, wondering when you will hear.”
  • Help Someone Else Out – “Help a neighbor, talk to a friend in need, shift the focus off of yourself for a while. It can be refreshing to worry about someone else for a change.”

Have you got another tip for managing scanxiety? Tell us in the comments.

Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on wellbeing, but we are always looking for more content. Register now to contribute content, recommend a resource, or share your personal story.

Go to page Leave comment
  • Statistics and information about childhood cancers

    Researchers can’t tackle childhood cancer without a set of current, accurate, nationally consistent data – and that’s exactly what the Australian Children’s Cancer Registry provides. The ACCR is managed by Cancer Council Queensland with the assistance of all state and territory cancer registries and all treating paediatric oncology hospitals. It comprises more than 20,000 cases of childhood cancer diagnosed in Australia since 1983. While the statistics and information developed by the ACCR are of great benefit to clinicians and other researchers, they’re also freely available to anyone with an interest or involvement in childhood cancers including families of paediatric cancer patients. […]

  • Maddy Ritchie: I Don’t Know How She Does It

    Being 17 is complicated enough. Being told you have a rare pelvic tumour can really turn your world upside down. Meet Maddy: she’s now in her early 20s, two years cancer-free and a passionate volunteer with cancer charities. She speaks candidly about treatment, fertility, spirituality and how she got through her experience. From MamaMia’s ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ podcast series.

  • For young adults – cancer and your family

    If you’re a young person diagnosed with cancer you probably have lots of questions about how it will affect your family. While every family is different and has its own strengths and quirks, it may be helpful to consider some common questions. Click on a section below to see some tips and hints, as well as recommendations for further reading. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for young people facing cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • Re-Mission 2 – a video game for kids with cancer

    Re-Mission 2 games is an online video game created by Hopelab. The game aims to give kids and young adults with cancer a sense of power and control. The website say the games “help kids and young adults with cancer take on the fight of their lives. Based on scientific research, the games provide cancer support by giving players a sense of power and control and encouraging treatment adherence.” All six Re-Mission 2 games can be played online for free. The Re-Mission 2: Nanobot’s Revenge mobile app is available for download on iOS. “In 2014, Re-Mission 2: Nanobot’s Revenge, our cancer-fighting mobile app for iOS […]

  • Explainer: What is nanomedicine and how can it improve childhood cancer treatment?

    The Conversation has published an article about how Australian researchers are looking at how they can use nanomedicine to improve the side effects of cancer treatment for children. What is nanomedicine?  Nano means tiny – a nanometre is one-billionth of a metre! – and nanomedicine is the use of nanoparticles in medicine. This article talks about using nanoparticles to transport drugs to places they wouldn’t be able to go on their own. How does that help with side effects?  Nanoparticles can be designed to: better target cancer cells, which means less damage to healthy cells break down into harmless byproducts transport […]

  • Advice on problems paying your mortgage

    The Australian Government website, Money Smart, offers advice to help you manage your mortgage if you’re having problems with your repayments. The website provides the steps a lender can take if you fall behind on your repayments, and the details of where you can get help. It covers how to contact your lender; get help with your repayments; the steps a lender can take if you are behind on mortgage repayments; and traps to avoid slipping further into debt.” Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on finances and cancer, but we are always looking for more content. Register now to contribute content, […]

Comments

Adry Awan

What great practical and thoughtful advice on dealing with Scanxiety! I’ll be sure to apply some of these tips next time I’m due for a scan.

Report Comment

What do you think about this topic?