- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Follow-up care
- Managing anxiety before check-ups
Managing anxiety before check-ups
Many cancer survivors say they feel worried before routine check-ups. Anxiety, poor appetite, sleeping problems, mood swings and increased aches or pains are also common. These things may happen because:
- you fear you’ll be told the cancer has come back
- going back to hospital brings back bad memories
- you feel vulnerable just when you were starting to feel more in control
- friends or family make comments that upset you.
Check-ups may feel easier once you’ve had a few and things are going okay. In the meantime, finding ways to cope with your anxiety before check-ups may help.
Coping with check-ups
- Share your concerns with people close to you so they can provide support.
- Plan to do something special after the check-up.
- Allow extra travel time so you don’t feel rushed. This can help you to feel calm and focused.
- 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 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.
- Ask if you can go to the doctor’s consulting rooms if you are not comfortable going to the hospital or treatment centre.
- Try to book tests about a week before your next doctor’s appointment so you don’t have to wait a long time for the results.
Podcast: Managing Fear
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.