Dealing with breast cancer often involves a delicate dance with anxiety, especially when facing the annual scan following treatment. The anticipation, the waiting room, the whirring of the machine – each moment leading up to the results can be a rollercoaster of emotions.
In this blog, we explore the common thread of anxiety that weaves through the experiences of those undergoing regular breast cancer screenings.
The Waiting Game
Commonly known by some as Scanxiety! The days leading up to an annual breast cancer scan can feel like an eternity.
Thoughts can race and the mind plays out various scenarios.
What if the results aren’t as positive as last time?
What if there’s a new development?
It’s natural to grapple with these uncertainties, but it’s crucial to remember that anxiety is a common companion on this journey. Holding onto your mind is key to not driving yourself mad; remembering to live in this moment only.
Facing the Machine
As you step into the imaging room, the familiar hum of the scanning machine becomes another trigger for anxiety. The cold surface and the clinical environment may bring memories of past screenings, adding an emotional layer to the physical examination.
It’s essential to acknowledge these feelings and allow yourself the space to process them. Most Mammographers are happy to help you create the space and to guide you through kindly. If you find that isn’t the case take a deep breath and explain that slowing down a little is totally what you need.
The Tug of War Between Hope and Fear
Hope and fear often cruise hand in hand during the annual breast cancer scan. On one side, there’s the hope for positive results, a continuation of the progress made in your work with and against the disease. On the other side, the fear of the unknown, the fear of recurrence, can cast a shadow over this hope. Striking a balance between these conflicting emotions is an ongoing challenge, but it’s a challenge shared by many who walk this path.
Your Breast Cancer Scan Support System
Building a robust support system is crucial during these times. Whether it’s family, friends, or fellow survivors, having a network of understanding individuals can provide much-needed solace. Sharing your fears and anxieties with others who’ve experienced similar emotions can create a sense of camaraderie and reinforce the knowledge that you’re not alone. Having been through this already, the thought of it returning can be overbearing and your team need to understand that concern.
What Coping Strategies Can You Find?
Managing anxiety during annual breast cancer scans requires adopting coping strategies that resonate with you. Mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can help alleviate the tension. It’s important to find what works best for you and incorporate these practices into your routine leading up to the scan. And, in fact during the scan take your mind to a nice place and hold to that while you are holding your breath and being still.
Once the annual breast cancer scan is complete, there’s the inevitable waiting period for the results. This can be such a challenging time, but it’s essential to focus on self-care.
Here is the big format for helping you to deal with a deep fulfilling self-care routine: fill yourself to the top with rest, inspiration, nourishing food and love. When you are overflowing with good feelings and gratitude – you can give the overflow away. Giving the concentrated overflow away is far more beneficial to your loved ones and you. Not the diluted, running-on fumes part of you.
Use this scan time to make yourself a top focus. If you need extra help with that give your local Maggie’s a call. They are amazing support, not just to you but to your whole family if needed.
The anxiety surrounding an annual breast cancer scan is a shared experience among many individuals navigating life after a diagnosis. Acknowledging these feelings, building a support system, and employing coping strategies are integral components of managing this anxiety. Remember, each scan is a step forward in your journey, a testament to your resilience, the work you put in and your strength.
Recently, we have been advising a number of you to take out 365 Days of Brighter Thinking, rather than 365 Days of Breast Cancer. Once you are through treatment, a little swerve away from the cancer world can be a wonderful thing, and it will help you keep hold of your thoughts!