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by HIS Breast Cancer Awareness

Scanxiety and Male Breast Cancer: Unique Challenges and Coping Strategies

Cancer is a traumatic experience for anyone. The fear of cancer recurrence or progression can trigger anxiety. For many cancer patients, the anxiety related to cancer diagnosis and treatment can continue long after treatment is complete. This anxiety is commonly known as scanxiety – the stress and worry associated with undergoing medical scans.

Scanxiety can be particularly challenging for men with breast cancer, as they face unique challenges and stereotypes that can make the experience even more isolating. Breast cancer is a rare disease in men, and its unique challenges can significantly impact their mental and physical health.

Breast cancer in men can be difficult to find information and resources due to the lack of awareness and research, increasing patients’ anxiety and uncertainty. Delayed diagnosis is also a common issue; societal stereotypes and stigmas can make the experience more isolating.

In this blog, we will discuss the concept of scanxiety, the unique challenges of male breast cancer patients, and coping strategies for dealing with scanxiety.

What Is Scanxiety?

Scanxiety is a form of anticipatory anxiety experienced by cancer patients before, during, or after medical scans or appointments. Several factors can trigger this anxiety, such as fear of cancer recurrence, fear of receiving bad news, uncertainty about the future, and lack of control over the situation.

Scanxiety is an expected response to the trauma of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Research has demonstrated that the prevalence of scanxiety can be as high as 83%, though this figure may vary depending on factors such as cancer type, disease stage, and scan frequency.

Scanxiety can negatively affect a patient's mental health, quality of life, and overall well-being. Interestingly, scanxiety can have both positive and negative effects on follow-up care. For some patients, the anxiety propels them to be more proactive in seeking further medical attention, while for others, it acts as a barrier to continued care.

9 Coping Strategies for Scanxiety in Male Breast Cancer Patients

Scanxiety can be challenging to cope with, but there are several strategies that male breast cancer patients can use to manage their anxiety and improve their quality of life. Here are nine coping strategies that may be helpful:

1. Empower Yourself

Knowledge is power; the more you know about your diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis, the better you will cope with the disease. Researching scans and coping mechanisms online is a quick and effective place to start.

If you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, reach out to your healthcare team and ask questions. They can provide reassurance, help you understand what to expect during appointments and scans, and refer you to additional support services if needed.