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Anxiety before CT scan

Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020


I hope wherever you are that you are safe and doing well.

My dad has after 4 chemos a CT scheduled at Wednesday. The tumor board will discuss then and we will get feedback on Thursday how they will continue his treatment. We are all very afraid of it. What if the chemo did not work? What if it is even worse now? With stage IV at the beginning you get so used to bad news and are just thinking "This week comes the next bad one".

Even if he gets cancer free at some point which I hope he will. He will get regular CT scans. 

How to prepare for this anxiety? How to stay positive? Here are many survivors who get regular CT scans. How do you manage this fear if the cancer is back or during treatment that it could be worse? How to avoid thinking about it? 

I would really appreciate how you manage it. 


Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5297
Joined: Jan 2013

You cannot avoid thinking about it.  But you can avoid obsessing over it. 

Well, that is my take on things. 

It is always harder at the very beginning.  Every scan. Every blood work. Will it or won't it. Good or bad. What will I do if my Oncologsit says. The list is never ending. 

I am blessed to be Six years NED this very week. BUT, the fear is still there. Every twinge. Every cramp. Every anything in the body that is even slightly different.  Right now I have a electirical sensation running down my right leg, and a bruised sensation in the center of my back. And sure enough, my fear, the Cancer has spread to the spine. 

I could list everything I do to help keep those fears at bay - not gone - but they are personal to me. Your dad and you, have to find something that works for you. That fits into your pysche. 

For me, meditation, yoga, long walks in secluded spaces by creeks and trees and birds, is what does it for me. 

I also tell myself that worrying will not change the outcome.  If I have a test and wait for the results, I could spend a week worrying myself silly. Then the results are good, and I have wasted a week of living. If the test comes out bad, then I have still wasted a week where of living.  

It is a hard one, no doubt about that.  This never ending round of blood work, and scans. 

I wish your dad well as he moves forward. And I pray you both find your peace, so that time living isn't wasted on worry. 


Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020

I probably obsessed about it more than my dad. He is the calmer one or better he does not really talk about his fears. My mom and me are the ones who worry the most and talk about it. 

I think we all get better when we know what to do. At the moment everything is bad and scary. You said it yourself: did the chemo work? I was positive because both his tumor markers decreased before the chemo and the last one. But then CEA can be wrong or maybe only the tumor responded and not the mets? I dont know. Worse is todays online seminar was about malignancies in GI tract. Maybe I worry more because I have classes about it? 

Thanks for your insight Tru :) I will try and we will see what my dad will do. Lile I said it is more my mom and me and not him. 

So yeah we will wait until tomorrow. The CT is done in the next few hours. He probably already swallowed the contrast. After his case will be discussed at the board. I hope it will be good news. The oncologist said a few weeks ago that they wont add a monoclonal AB because they expect the surgery soon. So yeah it could be good. I will definetely update when I know. 

Hugs Tueffel 

SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1127
Joined: Apr 2017

Scanxiety (scan anxiety) is something most of us understand and suffer.  One of the best things about this forum is that all you need to do is mention the condition and people understand. I do not think there is any way to avoid it, and I do not think there is any benefit from "staying positive."  Probably the best thing you can do it listen to your Dad's concerns and be understanding.  For me, meditating on mortality and trying to live in the current moment have also been helpful.  But that does not eliminate the sleepless nights and rumination before a scan.  To me, it is just part of the "new normal."  Best of luck with these issues.

(And congratulations to Tru who has made it six years NED.  Are you going to give yourself six dancing men, Tru?)

Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020

I really like this word. Scanxiety. Sums it up pretty good.

I thought not only my family but also older members and new members will experience it, are scared and dont know what to do. Because I thought that this is a common thing many experienced and understand, I opened this tread. 

Thank you! I hope it gets easier at some point. Like you get used to the new normal even if I could think of something better. Still we will live with it for the rest of his life which is hopefully really long. 

Hugs Tueffel

beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1090
Joined: Aug 2013

Along with everything Tru and Sandia suggest, learning to stay in the moment, staying busy, training your mind to not obsess on things you have no control over, some of us got prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan and Xanax. They help, but only for the hardest moments, the 3am wake ups, etc. They're not for every day use, but they are effective in calming those thoughts. Pot works for some, as well, but not for me, that way. Good luck and peace to you and your dad....................................................Dave

Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020

I think my mom and me are more the anxious ones. I did the post at 3am in the morning... does not help either if I have classes about it... Maybe the best is avoiding it or do other things. Study, read or netflix. 

Thanks! I hope the board will have good news and the surgery will be soon. 


AnneO1965's picture
Posts: 170
Joined: May 2019

I agree with everything that's been said so far, especially where it was said that you have to make your own peace. I'm only 6 months being cancer "free" and I know I used to worry every day that the cancer would come back. I decided that if it did I would opt for no more chemo. I didn't like the first bout of it. When my heart and mind finally wrapped themselves around it, I found that the worry started to lessen a little bit each day. I still have scanxiety, but I also know for me, it's just a matter of finding out what's going on. Doesn't change a thing.

Wishing you and your dad peace of mind and lots of virtual hugs!

Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020

First virtual hugs back :)

My dad actually did okay with the chemo. 3rd one was hard because they lessened the drugs against nausea. Dad told them and it was better. He is just tired. Really tired but my mom cooks good so it gets better at some point. After 1 week he is nearly normal and I think he needs some time because if the MS and not necessarily the chemo. Sometimes I think that he did so well because chemo did not work but both markers decreased but they also not so sensitive for some people. 

I think the first one is the worse. It will stay but maybe it gets better. I hope it does. 

Virtual hugging you back! I miss real hugs... 


Posts: 1264
Joined: Apr 2012

We are all dealing with the same thing no matter our status.  I have been NED for almost 10 years but still have side effects to remind me I'm a cancer survivor.

May you all beat it!!!  Good Luck!

Posts: 121
Joined: Feb 2020

I think that some things always stay and if it just the fear. I know for sure that the time when I have my first colonoscopy that I will be anxious a lot. Just because I experienced this fear with my dad. 

Thanks! I am sure my dad is fighting. Even with stage 4 he knows he can win it even though it will be harder


Real Tar Heel
Posts: 135
Joined: Nov 2019

I had my last round of FOLFOX a few weeks ago. I had my end of treatment CT scan yesterday. The last two days before the scan, I was super stressed out, even though I told myself whatever happens was already happening while I was stressing and it was out of my hands.

Well, the docs found nothing and said, see ya in three months for an MRI. On one hand, yay, on the other, that's three more months of worry. We will be this way for the rest of our lives until we hit that magic 5/10 year marker. Ten years before you can think about calling yourselves cured. Long time, eh?

I guess we will learn a way to live with it.

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