My name is Dusty and I’m a mother, a lung cancer survivor and an advocate. In 2010, I started my own nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the lung cancer community.
For me, scanxiety is a place in time where my focus is on ONE thing: my scan results. I usually have internal peace, but when it’s time for my scan, I experience a profound sense of uncertainty. My scanxiety peaks from the time I have the CT scan until I meet with my doctor and receive my results.
In the early days after my diagnosis, I received scans every few months. I had to wait several days, or a week or more before getting the results. During the in-between time, I was reluctant to plan for the future…wondering if my future would be shaken.
As time passed without my cancer recurring, the period between scans and the intensity of my scanxiety has decreased significantly from those early days. Thankfully, my oncologist also became sensitive to my scanxiety. For the past few years, I have been fortunate to have my scan and lab work done, and then meet with my doctor about the results all on the same day. Now, I only get one scan each year.
I believe that fear of recurrence is the root of scanxiety. In between scans, I try not to think about this. I keep busy by being productive and doing the things that I enjoy like spending time with my family. Of course, it’s hard to NOT think about recurrence when it’s time for a scan.
Feeling concerned about your scan is normal for cancer patients and survivors. Scanxiety feeds off fear. It is important to acknowledge it and not let it take control.
The main thing to understand is that you’re not alone! It’s good to share your scanxiety with your support system, whether that’s your loved ones, social media friends or the ones you see for spiritual help. If you’re uncomfortable sharing your concerns with your family or loved ones, consider sharing your thoughts online and seeking perspective from other patients. If you’re not connected, get connected!