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6 Tips for Managing “Scanxiety:” Screening and Testing Fears

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“Scanxiety” is a term used to describe the anxiety that can happen before and during a diagnostic or follow-up imaging scan.

Diagnostic and follow-up scans can include mammograms,MRIs, CT, or PET scans, and bone scans. It’s normal to feel fear about what these scans may find, but there are ways to manage it.

Take a friend with you who can make you laugh to your scan appointments.

Take relaxing music or stress-reducing guided imagery programs to listen to on headphones while you wait to be called into the testing room.

Schedule something fun to do right after the scan: lunch with friends, a massage, or a movie.

Make plans that can help distract you while you wait the few days until you get your results: a short day trip with friends, a yoga class, or a nature hike.

Talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication if you find that distraction or other therapeutic techniques are not helping.

Seek extra support from a counselor, clergy, or other professional if scanxiety becomes overwhelming.

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