10 tips for coping with scanxiety by a cancer survivor

  • 2018-08-12

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.

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