Person with grey hair looks down at a lung cancer scan in front of their chest. The scan shows lungs that look like a toothy monster.

Scanxiety: A Word Well Known in the Lung Cancer Community

Scan plus anxiety equals Scanxiety. Scanxiety is a very well known word and commonly used in the lung cancer community. Most of us have already endured one or more surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and oxygen therapy. For most, we get scans every three months. For many of us with lung cancer, these scans cause tremendous stress and anxiety, which can wreak havoc on us patients and our caregivers. Scanxiety can cause us the inability to sleep, eat, or just function in general.

Waiting on the results

The anticipation of the upcoming scan day causes worry than having to wait on the results can truly be debilitating for some. It is always on your mind if the scans are going to show stable, NED, or dreadful progression. I was diagnosed In November 2015 and I’ve had countless scans and then the horrible wait for the results. Once it was even three or four weeks before I received the MRI of the brain results because of a mix up at the cancer center. Normally I get my results the following week. I know some who get their results the same day. That was pretty recent when the mix up happened to me. Let me be honest that caused a lot of worry and stress.

Redirecting stress

I know stress is not good and I try hard to not stress and over the years if I start feeling the Scanxiety coming on I try and redirect. Redirecting the Scanxiety feeling by walking, going to the park if the weather permits. Having lunch with friends. I even went with the granddaughter and we got coloring books and crayons to color. Hey, that is really therapeutic too.

Although the redirecting of emotional stress is a short time relief at times, I think of it as look how much of my time was spent free of emotional stress. Some of us start having Scanxiety weeks before the scans and all the way until the day we get the results. Others only have Scanxiety after the scans while awaiting the results. I had gotten to where I wasn’t really experiencing Scanxiety as much anymore. I had put it in my mind that I cannot stress it will not change the outcome. I will deal with the results when I get the results and the redirecting. My favorite redirect therapy is puzzles and crossword.

The fear of scans is very real

The word Scanxiety doesn’t give justice to the real meaning behind that word. It’s more than just the hope of no progression or being stable. We want to hear news like shrinking or NED. Scanxiety is caused by the mental abuse that cancer has caused us. The emotional abuse we feel knowing we have a potentially fatal disease. Cancer can be a crippling emotional rollercoaster for our minds. Scanxiety is a relatively new lung cancer word that I see being used more and more in all cancer communities. The fear of scans. The fear of the results and the fear of progression runs deep in our heart. The dreaded Scanxiety!

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