Fear of having cancer is not unusual, but there are a few actions you can take to help calm those fears:
Face your fear
Acknowledge your fears and look for ways to deal with your feelings. Many people try to ignore or hide “negative” feelings like anxiety and fear. Ignoring them only makes them grow stronger and potentially become overwhelming. Talking about them may help you discover the reasons behind them. You can also write down your thoughts in a journal.
Talk about your fears
Criticizing yourself for being afraid or telling yourself not to worry will not likely make these feelings go away. Accept that you are experiencing some anxiety. Sometimes, talking to your healthcare specialist may help you realize that what you are afraid of is probably unlikely to happen. You can also join a support group or talk to a therapist.
Talk with your doctor
Knowing your cancer risk or prognosis and planning for the future can help you feel more in control of your health.
Have regular screenings
The surest way to know you don’t have cancer is to complete the screenings your physician recommends.
Finding ways to cope with stress will help lower your level of anxiety. Try different ways of dealing with stress to find out what works best for you. These might include:
- Spending time with and friends and family
- Focusing on hobbies and other things you enjoy
- Meditating, taking a walk, or enjoying a bubble bath
- Practicing yoga or other forms of exercise
- Watching a funny movie or reading a funny book
- Creative arts therapy
Pay attention to your body
Remember that many discomforts like colds, headaches or achy joints are normal. Your doctor can help keep your health in check.
Follow a healthy lifestyle
Although no single type of food can protect you against cancer, an overall healthy diet can support the immune system and improve your well-being. Healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep can help you feel better, both emotionally and physically. Avoiding unhealthy habits, like excessive drinking or smoking, can help you feel like you have more control over your health.
Here are some other diet and activity recommendations for cancer prevention by the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
- Carry as little extra body fat as possible, but don’t become underweight.
- Practice physical activity for at least half an hour every day.
- Avoid using supplements unless recommended by your medical professional.
- Eat more vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes (like beans).
- Avoid sweetened drinks and limit the consumption of added-sugar foods.
- Limit your consumption of processed meats.
- If any, limit your daily intake to two alcoholic drinks for men and one for women.
- Limit your intake of processed food.