Participation in doctor appointments and treatments for cancer can feel just as difficult and nerve-wracking as cancer itself. It’s easy for patients to become anxious. But just as every problem has a solution, it is possible to remove stress during cancer treatment.
Before reducing anxiety in cancer treatment, it is important to learn about anxiety itself and the effect it takes on a patient’s body and mind. Anxiety in response to cancer treatment is caused by a variety of feelings, most of them based on fear and anticipation. Some of these feelings include:
- Pain over treatment or treatment side effects
- Fear of losing independence
- Worry about a change in relationships
- Concern over cancer returning or spreading
- Uncertainty and death
These symptoms and feelings can vary from person to person. No one reacts to these situations in the same manner. The symptoms of anxiety can also fluctuate, usually increasing when doctor visits or treatments are rapidly approaching. The patient must find a way to treat anxiety, or else it can interfere with their recovery process.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety manifests itself through various symptoms. These symptoms affect the patient both mentally and physically and have different duration periods. These symptoms fall into the categories of acute and chronic.
Acute Anxiety Symptoms
The following acute anxiety symptoms are experienced over a short time period and often. These effects include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, diarrhea, or other intestinal issues
- Intense fears and dread
- Irregular heart activity
- Detachment from oneself or one’s surroundings
- High blood pressure
A panic attack is when a patient experiences all these symptoms at the same time.
Chronic Anxiety Symptoms
The following chronic anxiety symptoms last for longer periods of time. They include:
- Insomnia or irregular sleeping patterns
- Intense worrying
- Muscle tension
- Irritability or other mood disorders
Patients may also experience some of these symptoms along with acute symptoms.
The patient can identify and assess the following sources of stress before dealing with the condition.
- History of anxiety or panic
- Hereditary factors
- Unrelieved physical pain
- Use of alcohol and drugs
- Treatment effects
- History of diabetes or hyperthyroidism
- Persistent change in ability to handle stress
- Lack of information or control