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AFTER CANCER: WHAT IS “CHECKUP ANXIETY”?

by admin - March 12th, 2009.
Filed under: Cancer. Tagged as: .

Checkup anxiety is the experiencing of anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbance, or increased somatic symptoms prior to a routine checkup. A man who was treated successfully for lung cancer gets chest pain a few weeks before every annual checkup. His pain gets worse as the checkup approaches and disappears after his test results document his continued remission. Another survivor, who is usually confident about his continuing good health, has a rough few days before every checkup. He has nightmares and daymares about getting bad news, and he is short-tempered and somewhat irrational.

There are many reasons for checkup anxiety. The obvious one is your fear that the checkup will reveal recurrent cancer. Other factors contribute to checkup anxiety:

•You have to reenter the realm of patient.

• Even the most well-suppressed memories of your cancer experience are rejuvenated

somewhere between the fasting the night before, the waiting room filled with patients, the

blood tests and X rays, and the interactions with uniformed doctors and nurses.

•You know that in the time it takes to relay your test results, your world can go from normality to

chaos.

• Those around you may be anxious about your checkup, thus straining relationships and making

you more anxious.

• You may have to juggle your checkup with other responsibilities, which just creates more

stress.

• You feel out of control when you are being evaluated.

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