4 Ways to Stop Treatment Anxiety

It’s natural to feel anxious when preparing for treatments; chemo can be scary, especially the first time around. But millions of people have gone through it and are doing very well as a result. So focus on your own healthy future and think of chemo as a bridge to get you there!

Here are four ways to deal with any treatment anxiety you may feel:

  • Find ways to relax. “I treated myself to massages when I was going through chemo,” says Elizabeth, a seven-year cancer survivor. “They really helped.” Other options: Find some quiet time, close your eyes and visualize yourself in a favorite place; breathe slowly and deeply; take a hot bath; or listen to soothing music.
  • Minimize stress with motion. “Going to my yoga class and walking helped me keep my energy and my spirits up,” says Heidi, who underwent chemo five years ago. She had the right idea: Active people tend to do better on chemo. If you’re having a hard time exercising, ask your doctor or nurse for advice.
  • Try expressing yourself. “A writing workshop at a local cancer services organization was meeting every other month,” says Nikki, a two-time cancer survivor. “I went for a year, and it helped me get my feelings about cancer down on paper.” If you don’t want to write about your experiences, talk with someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, chaplain, nurse or social worker. You may find it helpful to speak with fellow patients who have already gone through chemo.
  • Join a support group. “I felt so much better when I joined a support group for newly diagnosed women; it made me realize there were plenty of other people in the same boat,” recalls Teddie, who underwent treatment several years ago. Besides providing a space for sharing thoughts and feelings, a support group will help you find out how other people cope with chemo and its side effects.

  Getting Ready for Chemo

Starting Chemo: Preparing for Today's Visit
Preparing for Your First Chemotherapy Treatment
Your Chemo Checklist
Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Your Personal Chemo 'Cocktail'
6 Ways to Relax in the Chemotherapy Room

More Chemo Basics

Get Comfortable
4 Ways to Stop Treatment Anxiety
Take Some Advice from 3 Chemo Mentors
4 Things No One Tells You About a Cancer Diagnosis
What to Know About Ports