Managing Your Anxiety About Chemotherapy

Medically reviewed by | By

Update Date 04/12/2019 . 3 mins read

Many cancer patients are anxious when they start their chemotherapy  treatment. Will it work? Will it have any effect on me? The questions go on. There are way to manage your anxiety about chemotherapy for lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Some might call it anxiety, some might call it fear. Which ever you call it, it means the same thing. It’s the extreme feeling of worry, panicking, frightening before you have your chemotherapy. You might experience some physical symptoms such as:

  • Having trouble falling asleep,
  • Losing appetite,
  • Experiencing a thumping heart,
  • Having short breath, hyperventilating,
  • Dizziness,
  • Sweating,
  • Shaky hands or the entire body, feeling pins and needles, have muscle ache,
  • Dry mouth, have difficulty swallowing,
  • Chest pain and dry cough,
  • Ringing sound in your ears.

Mentally, you might find it hard to concentrate and need to be reassured often. You might feel negative, upset, or find it hard to do your daily routine. These effects of anxiety are real and it can affect your life.

Anxiety or fear is our tool of survival. When we face a stressful or fearful situation, out body produce a hormone called anadrenalin (also called epinephrine). This hormone kick start the fight or flight instinct, making our heart beat faster, our muscles contract, our lungs take in more air for oxygen. All of these changes allow us to make a quick get away from danger or to fight it. Once the danger has passed, your heart rate drop, your breathing decreases and you will feel normal again.

Facing something you fear, such as seeing a doctor or getting chemotherapy, will trigger the same reaction. There are many things you can be anxious about before getting chemotherapy treatment. You may worry that the treatment won’t work on you, you may worry that the treatment will stop working, or that your body will not respond well to chemotherapy. For people who haven’t had chemotherapy before, the anxiety is even more severe and can cause a panic attack.

How to cope with anxiety?

If you feel anxiety before getting treatment, here are a few things you can try.

  • Have a relaxation technique, such as slow breathing. Or try to focus on something while getting treatment such as meditation or doing your hobby like drawing or read a book.
  • Have regular exercise that help you relax your mind and body, for example, tai chi, yoga, walking, swimming, etc.
  • Keep a diary or journal to write about what you are feeling. You might be able to recognize triggers of anxiety and what helps you relax from the diary.
  • Bring a friend or family member to the treatment with your.
  • Talk to your nurse or doctor about what worry you. The medical team will do everything in their ability to make the experience less stressful for you.

Your doctor might recommend a therapist to have “talk therapy” with you. The purpose is to create a safe, secure environment where your needs and concerns can be expressed freely. Communicating your feelings to someone else can help you easy your mind off the stress you’re having. Moreover, you may be prescribed medications to manage your anxiety.

There are many things to be anxious about when you have cancer and are getting chemotherapy. You should discuss with your doctor before choosing a treatment options about the effect as well as what you should expect from the treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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