The internet is full of blogs and articles about a subject which is described as ‘scanxiety’ – the joining of the words ‘scan’ and ‘anxiety’. I also noted some authors using the words ‘scanxiety’ and ‘anxiety’ interchangeably which in my opinion is clearly wrong.
‘Scanxiety’ – I just don’t get it ……or more accurately I just don’t get overly anxious about scans. Why? Because testing (scans in particular) is the one thing that’s going to keep me alive for as long as possible. I was diagnosed 5 years ago thanks to the trigger of precautionary tests including a scan. I now live with the knowledge (and I accept this fact) that there are still bits of cancer inside me. If I am not regularly tested, there is a chance I will eventually succumb to a serious or irreversible problem which should have been spotted earlier. Even in the event of ‘not so good news’ following a routine surveillance scan, I still see that as a positive because it means the testing has worked and an investigation can be commenced to more accurately localise and treat the problem. Even if you are in the diagnostic phase and a scan is ordered, you need to get right inside that machine and get it over and done with. It just might save your life.
Users of the phrase also extend its meaning to waiting on the results of the scan. I also find this odd as scanning is just one test and just one test result. Thinking back to my own countless appointments either for testing, treatment or for receiving results, I appear to be consistently pragmatic in my approach – the test results will be what the test results will be and I will save any worry until I know if I have anything to worry about.
Many cancer patients are under surveillance for a long time and are tested regularly. As an incurable cancer patient myself, I sometimes feel like I’m in a perpetual state of testing. I suspect if I was to let anxiety get the better of me, that would simply lead to other complications I just don’t need. I’m not that insensitive to forget that some people do probably get anxious about actually climbing into a scanner, particularly if they are claustrophobic but that is already a recognised anxiety issue rather than so-called scanxiety. I also suspect people will be anxious about their relatives having scans, particularly the first diagnostic one, worse when young ones are involved and I totally get that. Anxiety (as opposed to so called scanxiety) is a pretty natural reaction. However, to control your fears, you need to face them and then try not to let your anxiety filter down to others.
Scanxiety – I just don’t get it. As for the 20,300 search results on the internet, I just don’t get that either!
Thanks for listening