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Topic: Cancer phobia

29 posts, 0 answered
  1. Bulletin Board Archive
    Bulletin Board Archive avatar
    4426 posts
    18 February 2013
    Originally posted by: Anna on 18 February 2013

    Is there anyone reading this who knows what this is like or can help me? I am a 28 year old mum of two children, the youngest just a baby, and since the birth of my second, have been going through alot of general depression and anxiety. I've seen doctors and psychologists, and am reluctant to use medication as i'm concerned of the effects this will have on me breastfeeding. The main cause of my anxiety is a fear of cancer, which has become absolutely debilitating over the past few months. It's driving my partner mad, having effects on my oldest child, and preventing me from having social contact, as i feel unable to direct my focus to this phobia whenfriends are around (!). I have little energy for anything else in life but constantly checking my body for signs that I have cancer, and monitoring myself for any new signs. My latest fear is leukemia or some form of blood cancer, due to seven unexplained small bruises i have found on one leg, and the fact that i can feel my lymph nodes, despite being reassured by my doctor that they are within the normal size range. In the past year, i have "had": two types of breast cancer, cancer of the salivary gland, leukemia (seperate from this episode), brain tumor, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer,bone cancer and lymphoma. They have all been talked over with gps, who have explained the symptoms with fairly non-sinister causes. Constant checking of symptoms online has fuelled alot of this in the past, but I have mananged to control this to a degree recently, to no avail. If i do check the net, I start out intending to seek reassurance, only to wind up in a complete state of panic, calling my partner at work to let him know I'm dying, and with usual panic symptoms (sweating, racing heart, numb fingers and toes, pressure headaches etc). It seems everywhere i go, everything I read, is saturated with the constant threat and reminder that cancer is out there, waiting to pounce on me. I'm so scared, as i have two children who are my reason for living, and who need me. I can't shake the image of myself lying in a bed somewhere with measured time to live. I have always been scared and confronted of death, but this is getting out of hand. The saddest part of this all is that i want to live so much, but am nott enjoying life at all for this stupid fear of dying. I'm always asking my partner for reassurance and pointing out my symptoms to him, and although he does his best to deal with it by reassuring me and reminding me off all the other times it's turned out to be nothing, it's taking it's toll on our relationship. Another niggling thought that makes the situation even harder is this: What if, in spite of all the false alarms, this time it's the real deal? I mean. how many bullets can one dodge in a lifetime. I have no family history of cancer, but figure someone has got to be the unlucky one, and I bet it's just me! Sorry for the long ramble. If anyone can relate to this, please let me know. xx
    7 people found this helpful
  2. Bulletin Board Archive
    Bulletin Board Archive avatar
    4426 posts
    18 February 2013
    Originally posted by: David Charles on 18 February 2013

    Dear Anna, I hear what you're saying and understand your concern. But. What if the cancer isn't the real deal and you are perfectly fine ? You sound like you need to have something wrong with you to perpetuate the phobia. Like I am responding now as I believe it's the right thing to do (and Daphne has left the building). We are both making choices. Sometimes the choice goes against others. As you say, even if the illness turns out to be fine you are still worrying............sounds a bit OCD to me (don't you think, Geoff) ? Adios, David. PS If only the world didn't have so much information ! Or kilts. Have you ever done something really silly to break the posturing ?
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Bulletin Board Archive
    Bulletin Board Archive avatar
    4426 posts
    18 February 2013
    Originally posted by: Scotty on 18 February 2013

    Hi Anna perhaps this needs treated like specific phobias... same thing! , course the other side of me thinks well its roll of the dice..with all of us! who knows right? is that core fear "Death"...till that day keep on living! :) TC
  4. Bulletin Board Archive
    Bulletin Board Archive avatar
    4426 posts
    19 February 2013
    Originally posted by: Neil on 19 February 2013

    Hi Anna That's a massive amount of mental anguish/baggage/illness that you're carrying with you. My first impulse is to recommend you to your GP to state all that you have here ... and for them to get you on a course of anti-depressants. You need them. Now I'm no whiz in this field, but I'm sure that they would cater/cover ladies who are breast-feeding/pregnant etc. I'd be shocked and surprised if you couldn't get appropriate medication because of you breast feeding. It's well worth you checking it out. This is just too much for you to carry on your own shoulders/mind without professional and medicinal help. I too have come down over recent times with a fear of cancer. However, mine is like a super mild case compared to what you're going through. I'm up for more medications - new script in the not too distant future and so when I go along to get that, I'm going to put forward my cancerous thoughts to my Doc. I'm a bit nervous about it to tell you the truth, but at the end of it, he'll say, "Cancer, nahhhh, get outta here". A bit like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode where he had a white discolouration on his lip. Sorry, just had to lighten the mood a bit, as I was beginning to slip a bit deep there myself. Anna, you've got by the sounds of it a very loving and supportive partner. You've also got two beautiful children and I'm sensing a massive amount of love and affection in your household. You've mentioned that this affliction is causing a strain on your relationship. NOW is the time to sort it out ... get yourself off to a Doctor, to your family GP or if you don't have one or would like to try a different one, find one from this website on B.B. You need to get this sorted. As you've said, you don't want to leave this world and you've got so much life ahead of you. Just 28 years young and a beautiful family that loves and needs you. Get this sorted out Anna ... for them AND YOU. And I'll tell you what, I'll do the same ... for me and also for my family of two children and my partner. Do we have a deal? Cheers, Neil
    2 people found this helpful
  5. Millie M
    Millie M avatar
    1 posts
    14 June 2014

    Dear Anna,

    I read your post yesterday after a day battling with my cancer fear demons. It was as if a great weight had lifted off my shoulders because up until I read your post I truly thought I was alone and quite frankly crazy. I have had my cancer phobia since I was 13 when a friend of the family died of leukaemia at the age of 9. My father dies of cancer 20 years ago  and six years ago my sister got cancer and died and my fears have gone from the occasional panic if I am unwell to a debilitating constant state of fear of the "what ifs" with every ache and pain I get. I, like you am ruled by my phobia and although I am so scared of getting cancer and dying the ironic thing is I am not living my life at all. I don't have a partner or children and I think my family are so sick of my "cancer scares" that they have turned away. But you know what? We all have this gift called life and none of us know how long we have it for. I am going to see my GP and get this sorted. I deserve to be happy as do you Anna. Thanks again for letting me know that I am not alone.

    3 people found this helpful
  6. faeriedust88
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    faeriedust88 avatar
    22 posts
    27 June 2014 in reply to Millie M

    Hi Anna,

    I just read your post and it sounds like you have had some experience with those around you passing from cancer - this definitely would be a reason your cancer phobia has triggered - but you are right - we are only given one chance at life - I am proud of you for being motivated to see your doctor for help  - have you seen your Dr yet?  I hope that they can help you with your phobia.  Maybe a psychologist would help also or a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist - your Dr should be able to offer you a referral to see a Psychologist to help with strategies for you to over come your fear.  It is not fair you living your life in fear - life is a gift - and I hope that you start to get ontop of your fear so that you can start to truly live your life for you!

    I have a friend with Leukemia, a grandma who had breast cancer, a friend who had cervical cancer and a cousin who has prostate cancer, when the thought of cancer pops in my mind - I pray and then I affirm that I am living my life as healthy as possible and I imagine healing white light entering and cleansing the cells of my body - I hope this helps you.

    Best wishes :)

  7. faeriedust88
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    faeriedust88 avatar
    22 posts
    27 June 2014 in reply to faeriedust88

    Oops - the above message was meant to be for Millie M  - in response to her post above - oops - sorry!

  8. HelenM
    HelenM avatar
    347 posts
    28 June 2014 in reply to faeriedust88

    Thankfully I haven't had this problem, but it was a problem for my Dad on and off for a number of years. He would have a symptom and no matter how much it was checked out he was still afraid. Eventually the fear would go but months later it would come back with another part of his body. He's 83 now, very healthy and just the other day we were talking about it and he was describing how awful it was. 

    Another case was my friends daughter. She has two young kiddies and went through a terrible time believing she was ill with something horrific. ADs got her out of this. I think it's a fairly well known phobia and must be terrifying.

  9. Lizzie M
    Lizzie M avatar
    2 posts
    20 June 2017
    Hi Anna, even though your post was some years ago, I wanted to reply because my experience is so much like your own. I don't know what the answer is but maybe knowing we are not alone can help. I am sick of myself and this fear - it is like an unwelcome guest that never wants to leave and gives you no peace. I try to live my life well but this fear of cancer is a constant shadow over it. I hope you are doing better these days.
    4 people found this helpful
  10. Anntug
    Anntug avatar
    17 posts
    20 June 2017 in reply to Lizzie M

    Hi Lizzie

    i am in the same boat as you.... sick of my self and have been going through this crapp for about 30 years... every time I am sick I am convinced I am dying of cancer! It takes over my whole life and most days I find it difficult to work and do anything. Gone back onto AD and hoping this will help me out , but soooo over not living a normal life. Xxx

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Blondie1992
    Blondie1992 avatar
    2 posts
    25 June 2017 in reply to Anntug

    Hi Lizzie, how are you?

    I know exactly how you feel . On the 10th of may I got my results back from my Pap smear and they told me I have "abnormal " Pap smear and I'm low grade squamous CIN1 . Straight away i just cried and cried when I got told about the results because in my head they told me I got cerival cancer, once I calmed myself down I rang them back up and they told me it's not cerival cancer you just have abnormal that needs to be checked out to be monited ever since I got all I got is "I got cancer I'm dying " it's always in my head which is bringing on my anxiety and panic attacks, I see a Specialist on the 27th of July and it freaking out as it's getting closer. I know how you feel xx

    1 person found this helpful
  12. FattyFatFat
    FattyFatFat avatar
    1 posts
    26 June 2017 in reply to Blondie1992

    While not related specifically to cancer, these health anxiety workbooks my Psychologist has put me on may help you guys out. Like you, I have bad anxiety regarding cancer and they have helped calm the storm quite a bit.

    Hopefully they can help you guys like they have helped me <3

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=53

    2 people found this helpful
  13. Taztan
    Taztan avatar
    2 posts
    15 July 2017 in reply to Lizzie M
    Hi Lizzie, I can totally sympathize with what you are going through as I have been like this continuously for the last couple of years since I had my daughter who is my second child. I had a pretty stressful pregnancy and birth and ended up back in hospital after I had her. I have pretty much felt like crap for two years. I am terrified that I have something wrong with me and that I am not going to be around for my kids to grow up. I have had heaps of tests done and keep getting told I have nothing wrong. I have had an MRI that showed a narrrowing or blockage on my bile duct that I have to have investigated on Monday by a specialist and even though my bloods came back fine I am absolutely terrified. I find myself wishing my kids lives away wanting them to be 18 so that at least they will be a little more independant of me. I was 41 when I had my second one and panic at the fact that when they are only 18 I will be 60. The funny thing is that most people I know think I am the calmest person ever but the reality is that I am a great actress. I may have this calm demeanour but the truth is underneath my mind is absolutely spinning and my stomach is churning. I'm like a swan sitting on the water. Looks easy on the surface but the feet are paddling like crazy just to stay afloat. I remember being really carefree and thinking I was fine and never worried about anything. I want to be that person again. I am having memories come back to me of when I was a young child of being really afraid of the dark and of death. I couldn't go to sleep at night because I'd be so worried about stuff. I've gone back to being this little kid. My parents are in their mid 70s and have always been really worried about their health. In fact they are both quite severe hypochondriacs my dad has had a couple of nervous breakdowns over the years worrying about his health and my mum is really self absorbed when it comes to her own wellbeing. So was my grandmother who lived with us. The funny thing is I used to get really angry with them for being so negative and self absorbed and now I am that person!! It consumes me. You are definitely not alone!
    1 person found this helpful
  14. Rosie. S
    Rosie. S avatar
    1 posts
    22 October 2017

    Hi,

    just posting a reply to this post while I google in a state of panic about having some kind of cancer for the thousandth time over the last few years. It is somewhat of a comfort knowing I am not alone and there are other people who understand how I feel.

    I have so many symptoms, which most of them have a perfectly reasonable explanation I cannot seem to take my mind off of Bowel cancer. Everywhere I turn the big C word is staring me in the face and I feel like, what if the symptoms I’m trying to brush off are actually real and I wait too long and leave my family behind. I know I am probably driving my family nuts with my needing constant reassurance but I’m sure people who have cancer have had less symptoms than me so I keep feeding this constant fear with googling and it’s so much worse than it’s ever been before.

    can anybody tell me if this gets better? I’m waiting to see a psychiatrist but it could be a few months wait. I just need some hope for the future to keep me going.

    2 people found this helpful
  15. Ash81
    Ash81 avatar
    54 posts
    7 March 2019 in reply to Rosie. S
    I know this post is older but it’s like I wrote it.. if anyone has come out the other end please tell us how. I’m terrified of Cancer also have had 2 ultrasounds on my breast, a vaginal ultrasound, blood tests and Chiro visits where the Chiro calms me down. I’m on anti depressants but havnt felt any change yet and frankly I’m worried that I’m even on them..
  16. Shelll
    Shelll avatar
    6346 posts
    13 March 2019 in reply to Ash81

    Hi Ash,

    I too have had a cancer scare. The thing was it was the doctors that I believe portrayed this fear to me. It was the way they talked to me.

    Ash I am not sure if you will read this thread again. I can tell you more if you like. Just let me know. In the meantime have a look at a site called Chris Beats Cancer.

    Shell

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Ash81
    Ash81 avatar
    54 posts
    27 May 2019 in reply to Shelll

    Hi Shell,

    i wish I saw your reply earlier! My obstetrician is the one scaring me now. I had two ultrasounds last year and they both said dermoid cyst on my left ovary. I was having pain again so I recently just got another one done which 2 radiologists had a look at (because I was crying and shaking) and they both said it’s a dermoid cyst. My obstetrician got a copy of the results and called me up and said ‘it should be taken out and we won’t know it’s not cancer until we take it out’

    Oh my god. I can’t tell u how scared I’ve been since. Just when I was feeling a bit better she says that. Does she not know I have health anxiety to the roof?!! Ever since then I’ve been bed ridden, not social and no appetite.. insomnia galore and just literally living in fear. I have to see a gyno soon which I’m terrified of. Hope you’re well?

  18. Shelll
    Shelll avatar
    6346 posts
    27 May 2019 in reply to Ash81

    Hi Ash, I know I do not know you. But all I want to do is give you a virtual hug and to tell you, you are going to be OK. You are going to be OK.

    Shell

  19. mamamania
    mamamania avatar
    1 posts
    26 June 2019

    Cancer phobia takes over my life too.. reading some of these posts is like reading about my life. I have worried about cancer since I was about 8 and I am now 48. My fear has been worse over the last 10 years because I have children and it kills me to think of them having to grow up without me. I have found medication the only thing that has helped.. and a little bit of therapy. My therapist's most helpful tip was to focus on what I DO KNOW for sure, not all the what ifs.. its still tough and I have lots of check ups and tests but taking my medication regularly has been the most helpful thing so far. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories, they have made me feel like I'm not the only one!

    2 people found this helpful
  20. yogie
    yogie avatar
    2 posts
    30 July 2019 in reply to mamamania
    Hi, l to worry about getting cancer but my fear is having test done and the waiting for results. It took me 2 years to have an ultra sound done to find l had gallstones . but now l keep thinking what if l have bowel cancer and the gallstones symptoms are covering up bowel cancer ,we have no history of cancer in my family and both my parents lived into their nineties .Every time l turn on the TV or Radio the Bowel cancer adds are on and this is causing me to panic more , l know it's better to be safe than sorry but the fear of what if is greater ,doe's anyone else feel this way
    1 person found this helpful
  21. nessmatic82
    nessmatic82 avatar
    3 posts
    13 November 2019 in reply to Bulletin Board Archive
    Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone has successfully overcome this horrible and sometimes dibilitating phobia. Mine started in my late twenties with compulsive skin checks then breast checks. This year it peaked after the arrival of my third son. I'm wondering if the extra stress of quitting work and staying at home with three young kids exasperated it. Because in the last 12 months I have had every "cancer scare" you can think of - bowel, breast, ovarian, cervical, skin, leukemia, bone and more recently lung, esophageal and tongue. No matter how much my gp reassures me I'm convinced that some type of cancer will eventually get me. It's horrible. I live on dr google or in the bathroom checking and checking again. I've started to shut my family out and have become very socially isolated and reclusive. I resent all the happy mums out there enjoying their children and feeling fit and healthy when I feel like I'm on the verge of an emotional break down, exhausted, depressed and completely alone.
  22. Hazel05
    Hazel05 avatar
    8 posts
    15 November 2019 in reply to nessmatic82

    Reading this I can really relate.

    The last month I have been in tears after reading on google that my symptoms could be bowel cancer, ovarian cancer, and now I’m worried about mouth cancer because I have some marks on my gums which are probably just sores from...you guessed it, because run down from anxiety! It is really debilitating constantly worrying about the worst case scenarios because let’s face it, Dr Google always comes up with the “c” for any symptom!

    i know it’s hard and I’m also trying not to, but you have to stop googling!! It doesn’t do anything but make you feel more anxious!

    Ive gone to the doctors numerous times this month to get every test under the sun to check I am ok. I had an ultrasound done to check on my pelvic pain and yes you guessed it, all clear! Ever since I’ve heard that the pains are slowly disappearing! It’s almost as if our symptoms are caused by tension and anxiety!

    I’m off to the doctors again this morning to rull something else out yet again. I can’t keep doing this as it’s affecting me financially as well as mentally! But at the same time it’s a step closer to telling myself it’s just me thinking the worst and that I actually am ok!

    Hope you are ok and know you are not alone with this feeling!!!

    1 person found this helpful
  23. Leleina
    Leleina avatar
    17 posts
    15 November 2019 in reply to nessmatic82
    Hi Nessmatic82

    I hear you. I recently asked my gp to have my bloods tested to see how to get cancer detected early. My family has a history of cancer. My mum was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and has successfully undergone chemotherapy in the last year. Sadly, my mil passed away of stage 4 liver cancer last month, and we didn't know. It was quite traumatic. Enough to make me go to the gp. My grandmother had colon cancer.

    I never had to think about this until now and I too have three young children. I worried when my boobs had linps from en
  24. Leleina
    Leleina avatar
    17 posts
    15 November 2019 in reply to nessmatic82
    Oops I didn't finish and accidentally pressed post reply.

    Anyway just want to let you know you are not alone and I know how isolating and exhausting stay at home can be, and how fears prey on your mind.

    Is there someone you can talk to? I recently tried to get myself on a mental health plan to talk about my anxieties. Your children needs a mum who is present for them. Sometimes we all need a break from the daily grind. Thinking of you.
  25. nessmatic82
    nessmatic82 avatar
    3 posts
    23 November 2019 in reply to Leleina
    Thanks for your replies. It really helps to know I'm not alone with my fears. My issues have snowballed this week. I had a chest xray on Wednesday following a persistant cough. Lungs look completely normal but the xray showed a small compression fracture in my T3 vertebrae. The gp didnt seem too worried but she's going to follow up with the radiographer to see if further investigation is required. Most people would wait to hear back and get on with their lives until then. Not me. I went home, googled this fracture, read that it's caused by either truama, osteoporosis or yep, you guessed it, advanced bone cancer - so once again I've lost my appetite, can't sleep, keep having puplatations, keep staring at my children wondering if I'll get to see them grow up. It's like a nightmare. I tried speaking to a counsellor from lifeline but that didnt really help. She just kept saying raise your concerns with your gp which I tried doing but everything rests on test results which I constantly have to push for and then wait forever to get. I'm not a hypochondriac or looking for attention. I just want to be healthy and happy. Will this ever end!!
  26. Leleina
    Leleina avatar
    17 posts
    5 December 2019 in reply to nessmatic82
    Hi Nessmatic82

    It has been some time since you posted, have you heard anything back from the tests? The wait must be so difficult for you. I cannot imagine how you are coping on your own with the children. Do you have family or friends you can share the diagnosis with and who can be with you physically during this difficult time? Sometimes they can help with the waiting and keep your mind off the unknown.
    Thinking of you
    Leleina
  27. nessmatic82
    nessmatic82 avatar
    3 posts
    1 January 2020 in reply to Leleina

    Hi Leleina

    It turned out the fracture mentioned was a reporting error. I do have a spinal fracture that I already knew about but in the lumbar spine (lower down). That was a relief but my health anxiety still continues. Since my last post I've had an ultrasound to check for lumpiness in my breast (all clear) and now I'm obsessing about some moles on my neck and arm that don't look right. I'm seeing my gp tomorrow for yet another skin check. Things were good over Christmas and I was looking forward to a fresh start in the new year. Now I'm back to worrying.

  28. Hazel05
    Hazel05 avatar
    8 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to nessmatic82

    Hi Ness

    Sorry to hear that your anxiety has flared up again!

    just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Despite having all my tests come back normal and my stomach pains subsiding (still there but not as bad), my anxiety came back when I was talking to a friend about my symptoms and she recommended a colonoscopy. I googled the reason why you need to get it done (to check for the “c word” and my anxiety went through the roof! She then recommended a laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis and made things ten times worse as the last thing I want to do is undergo invasive test procedures that have not even been deemed necessary by the three doctors I’ve seen!

    my mum brought something up the other day and it really resonated - when do the tests stop? All 3 doctors I’ve seen ruled out anything sinister so why the heck can I just accept that and stop stressing about the “what ifs”.

    Sorry about the rant!!

  29. AMMoverthinking
    AMMoverthinking avatar
    23 posts
    30 June 2020 in reply to Hazel05

    It really is amazing just how similar this cycle is for all of us. We get something cleared and then our mind moves on to the next thing to worry about.

    Hoping you are all doing well.

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