Many cancer survivors say they feel worried before routine check-ups. Anxiety, poor appetite, sleeping problems, mood swings and increased aches or pains are common in the lead-up to an appointment.
You may feel anxious before routine check-ups because:
- you might fear that you’ll be told the cancer has come back
- going back to hospital brings back bad memories
- you feel vulnerable and fearful just when you were feeling more in control
- friends or family make comments that upset you.
You may find check-ups get easier once you have had a few and things are going okay. In the meantime, finding ways to cope with your anxiety before check-ups may help. See the next page for some coping strategies to help ease your anxiety.
Coping with check-ups
- Take a close friend or relative with you to your check-ups.
- Share your fears with people close to you so they can provide support.
- Plan to do something special after your follow-up appointment.
- Try to see your check-ups as a positive way you can care for yourself.
- Learn mindfulness and meditation skills, or practise deep breathing to help manage the signs of stress and anxiety.
- Book the first appointment of the day or plan another activity beforehand so you are busy and don’t have time to dwell on the appointment.
- Stay informed about any new treatments for the type of cancer you had. This may help you feel more optimistic.
- Ask if it is possible to go to the doctor’s consulting rooms if you are not comfortable going to the hospital or treatment.
- Try to book tests close to your next doctor’s appointment.