Waiting for Test Results: 5 Tips to Minimize Scanxiety


Resources and Research Blog
hero symbol

You can’t skip them - those CT scans, blood tests, and other diagnostic and follow up tests are a part of the colorectal cancer experience. Unfortunately, along with the tests and scans comes the wait time. When standing by for test results, days can feel like decades. During this time it’s natural to feel some anxiety about what the tests might reveal. 

While this anxiety may not subside completely, here are five things you can do to help make the time go by faster.

  1. PLAN AHEAD. Talk to your doctor before the testing takes place. Take notes about what the test is, what the results may mean, and make sure that you have clear expectations about when you will be expecting your test results. Bring a trusted friend or loved one along as a second set of ears. Ask if you should call the doctor to get test results or if they will call you. Be sure to find out how long it will take to get results and why.
  2. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE. This can distract and prevent you from pacing around the house, dwelling on the test results. 
  3. GO FOR WALKS. Exercise! Studies, like the one from 2018 published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal, have found that physical activity 3-5 days a week (of 45 minutes or more) can improve mental health. Not only can exercise take your mind off the potential test result (hello, distraction!) but it’s also really good for you.
  4. TRY SOMETHING NEW. Interested in those wine-and-paint classes? How about giving one of the new recipes from Cook for your Life a shot or learning a few phrases in a new language? Doing something new is a great way to keep your mind off the scans a bit.
  5. LEAN ON YOUR FRIENDS. Talk to someone you know and trust. Someone who won’t minimize your feelings and your fears, someone who won’t offer unsolicited advice. Talking about what you’re going through can help a lot. While friends and loved ones can be great for this, so can your counselor or therapist. 

Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have questions about your test results. If the date which you were told you should receive your results has passed, call your doctor. 

What are some things you do to keep scanxiety at bay? Let us know in the comments!

Need someone to talk to while you wait for your test results?

Fight CRC’s toll-free resource line has the option to speak directly with a counselor from CSC for live assistance. If you are looking to find resources, short-term cancer counseling and emotional support, or help with financial counseling regarding the costs of cancer and its treatments, call today: 1-877-427-2111. The helpline is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Monday-Friday. It is available in English and Spanish, with translation services for 200 additional languages.