Scanxiety Explained - 5 ways to cope

Explained: What is Scanxiety and 5 Ways to Cope

Posted by Jane Elliott on

If there's one thing that most cancer patients have in common, it's anxiety around being scanned and receiving scan results. Common scans for cancer patients include PET, CT and MRI.

Today on the blog we're hearing first-hand from Drew, a stage IV Melanoma patient about his top tips for managing Scanxiety, and Jane adds some insights too.

What is Scanxiety?

A term that may be new to some, but for those navigating life with chronic illness, cancer or undergoing regular medical scans, it's all too familiar. Scanxiety is that intense fear and anxiety leading up to, during, and after medical scans, and waiting for results that could potentially change everything.

As someone who grapples with this on a regular basis, I know firsthand how paralysing it can be. The mind races with "what ifs" and worst-case scenarios, making each passing moment feel like an eternity. But amidst the turmoil, there's one thing we all long: NED (No Evidence of Disease). It's a victory in this ongoing battle against this illness.

Combatting scanxiety requires a multifaceted approach, one that prioritises self-care and mental well-being - here are my 5 top tips:

1. Stay Informed, but avoid Dr Google

Educating yourself about your condition and the purpose of your scans can alleviate some anxiety, however steer clear of endless online searches that can often lead to unnecessary worry.

2. Lean On Your Support System

Whether it's friends, family or online communities, having a support network to lean on during times of heightened anxiety can make all the difference.
(Jane:) Ask others who have experienced scanxiety what they find helps them, but also sometimes it's just helpful to know that you're not alone in feeling this way.

3. Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

From deep breathing exercises to meditation, finding moments of calm amidst the chaos can help centre your mind and reduce stress levels. Try to avoid the doom scrolling on TikTok!
(Jane:) If you're physically able to do some light exercise, it can do wonders for calming your mind. Maybe ask a friend if they'd like to go on a wander with you!

 4. Engage in Distractions

Distracting yourself with activities your enjoy, whether it's reading, watching movies or going for a walk can provide coping strategies tailored to your specific needs.
(Jane:) Finding a hobby that you enjoy is really important to help you keep your mind from spiralling. If your physical health or condition prevents you from doing things outside why not try a simple craft like origami or knitting.

5. Seek Professional Support

There's no shame in seeking help from a therapist or counsellor who specialises in managing anxiety. They can provide coping strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Remember that you're not alone in this. Reach out and seek support and hold onto hope. And when that NED result frinally comes, celebrate it as the triumph it truly is.


Thank you to Drew for allowing me to share his insight, experience and advice about managing scanxiety. You can follow him on Instagram at @a_minor_inconvenience_

May is Melanoma Awareness month and here at Brighter Day we'll be sharing insights from a few people who are living with Melanoma as well as some resources that can support you if you're going through it.

Most importantly, when was the last time you had a skin check? It could save your life!

Check out these Australian-based Resources:

Cancer Council 
Health Direct (Aust Govt)
Australian Skin Cancer Foundation
Aus Skin Clinics



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