Published: Mar. 28, 2007
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
Everyone experiences anxiety at various times in his or her lives; often before trying something new or on hearing frightening news. Anxiety is experienced differently in different people, but some common ways include:
Physical symptoms go along with anxiety, and these may include:
Sometimes anxiety helps us react to situations and is beneficial. But sometimes it lasts a long time and interferes with doing the things you want to do. You may not even recognize you are anxious, but others close to you may see signs.
When you are diagnosed with cancer, fear and anxiety are common reactions. But if anxiety becomes severe it may interfere with your coping ability and make symptoms like pain even worse.
That's why it is important to learn to recognize how anxiety affects you and what strategies best help you reduce it.
Occasionally, anxiety can be serious enough that professional help is needed. Here are some examples of when to get professional help:
The good news is that most anxiety, although it may be uncomfortable, is tolerable. And there is treatment available to help manage anxiety so it does not become overwhelming or debilitating.
This article is intended as a resource for patients receiving their cancer care at Duke University Hospital or Duke Clinic. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your doctor’s instructions differ from the information in this article, please talk with your doctor before making any changes.
Source: Cancer Patient Education Program, approved Duke Patient / Family Education Committee. 9/03