Adjustment to Cancer: Anxiety and Distress (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are very strong fears that may be caused by physical or psychological stress.
Studies show that almost half of all patients with cancer say they feel some anxiety and about one-fourth of all patients with cancer say they feel a great deal of anxiety. Patients living with cancer find that they feel more or less anxiety at different times. A patient may become more anxious as cancer spreads or treatment becomes more intense.
If you dread the thought of getting up in front of a group of people and performing, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from performance anxiety, commonly called "stage fright." In fact, most people would rather get the flu than perform. Athletes, musicians, actors, and public speakers often get performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety can prevent you from doing what you enjoy and can affect your career. Worst of all, performance anxiety can negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence...
For some patients feelings of anxiety may become overwhelming and affect cancer treatment. This is especially true for patients who had periods of intense anxiety before their cancer diagnosis. Most patients who did not have an anxiety condition before their cancer diagnosis will not have an anxiety disorder related to the cancer.
Patients are more likely to have anxiety disorders during cancer treatment if they have any of the following:
A history of an anxiety disorder.
A history of physical or emotional trauma.
Anxiety at the time of diagnosis.
Few family members or friends to give them emotional support.
Pain that is not controlled well.
Cancer that is not getting better with treatment.
Trouble taking care of their personal needs such as bathing or eating.
Anxiety disorders may be hard to diagnose.
It may be hard to tell the difference between normal fears related to cancer and abnormally severe fears that can be described as an anxiety disorder. The diagnosis is based on how symptoms of anxiety affect the patient's quality of life, what kinds of symptoms began since the cancer diagnosis or treatment, when the symptoms occur, and how long they last.
Certain types of tumors: Certain hormone -releasing tumors can cause symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. Tumors that have spread to the brain and spinal cord and tumors in the lungs can cause other health problems with symptoms of anxiety.