Let’s start by understanding what Anxiety is, what they symptoms are and what can cause it. Webster’s dictionary defines anxiety as:
- A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.
- A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
So simply put, it is an emotional state when one feels apprehensive. An example of apprehensive behavior is ‘worry’.
“Apprehensive behavior, such as worry, causes anxiety.
Anxiety turns into a disorder – a term used to describe when a behavior causes a disruption to normal functioning – when worry and the anxiety it creates interfere with a normal lifestyle.”Anxietycentre.com
Self-Assessment from the American Cancer Society
The following questions may help you figure out whether professional counseling would be helpful to you. Every patient has some of these symptoms. Circle the answer that fits best for you, from 1 (not at all) to 5 (all the time) or one of the numbers in between. There are no right or wrong answers. Answer the questions honestly. If you try to cover up how you feel, you might not get the help you need.”
Cancer and Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common and natural reactions to being diagnosed with cancer. Anxiety can also affect your physical health. Symptoms associated with anxiety, such as insomnia or lack of appetite can negatively affect your physical health. If you are already undergoing cancer treatment, this could further have an effect on your well-being. “Research shows that fear of cancer recurrence interferes with emotional and physical well-being.” says Daniel L. Hall, PhD.
You could also find that the degree and intensity of anxiety could change, either decreasing or increasing from one day to the next. Anxiety and the symptoms associated with this disorder are experienced differently by everyone.
“People with health anxiety for the most part tend to fear severe illness, such as HIV, cancer, or dementia. They worry far less about strep throat, twisting their ankle, or getting a cold,” says Dr. Timothy Scarella. Treating anxiety associated with cancer begins by educating the patient. This includes providing them with usable information and adequate support. Other treatments that may benefit the patients can include:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
Uncertainties Fuel Fear
According to Ken Goodman, LCSW, “Anxiety is a protective mechanism and scanning the body for an illness seems like the right thing to do to protect ourselves. However, when we are preoccupied with something, we tend to notice it.” Uncertainty can influence the level and intensity of anxiety. Not knowing what to expect, or what the end results will be can lead to intense emotions of fear and anxiety. Speak to your healthcare team. Ask for information or resources that you can use to gain more insight into Anal cancer and treatment options. There are a number of things that you can do to help relieve the intensity of the anxiety influenced by uncertainty, these include:
- Find out what to expect during and after the treatment, knowing what could happen will allow you to prepare yourself both mentally and physically
- Speak to your healthcare team, ask questions and make sure you understand what you are being told
- Spend time researching, find out what you can about your type of cancer and research being done
- Seek out the support of a counselor or therapist
- Join an online community and speak to like-minded people about how you feel, your fears and even ask for advice
It is important to remember that there will be some situations you cannot control All you can do it to prepare yourself to deal with whatever the outcome is. Remember to speak to others, voice your fears and concerns, ask questions and learn from others.
“Attorney Michael Daly tells his story about coping with anxiety and depression during his cancer treatment.”