Together we will beat cancer


Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

31 Aug 2015 01:09


I hope you don't think I'm being insensitive by posting about my imaginary cancers. I would never try to compare my experience to someone living with cancer, but since this has affected me so much I thought it would be good to try and get some perspective from people who have dealt with cancers.

I've dealth with depression most of my life, and last year I collapsed into depression after a stressful period. My depression centres around obsession with death, knowing I'm going to die and not being able to deal with it. Consequently a black cloud comes over me and numbs me completely - life it worthless because I'm going to die. It's happened a few times in my life and it lasts about a month or so, and I came out of the 'cloud', but this time I was stuck with an obsession, not just with dying at the end of a long life, but with the possibility of getting ill and dying at any time. That led to my first round of health anxiety, when I convinced myself I had stomach cancer for no real reason. It sounds so frivolous and silly but at the time it was always on my mind and I was constantly in a terminal mindset. It made me feel suicidal. I was told there was nothing wrong with my stomach but the tendency to obsess over my body hasn't gone and since then I've found things to worry about everywhere - lumps in my mouth, on my neck, under my arms, on my head, then moles and weird things with my throat and ears.

The reason I'm posting now is because my anxiety over a lump on my head has flared up again, and after so many months of continuous anxiety, then panic, then horrible depression and suicidal thoughts and self harming, over so many different things, has left me basically a wreck. I can't deal with the idea of being ill - I can't deal with the idea of death in general, so I have to put it in the future, not now, not potentially right round the corner. I know so many people here are living with cancer and making the best of it, and I feel awful knowing that so far I've been okay and yet I still can't deal with it. I know I'm not immortal or immune to illness, but actually confronting it is different from simply knowing it. But of course that means I can't accept it if I am well because I feel guilty for being "lucky"!

The lump I'm worried about right now is about the size of a pea, on the back of my head under my hair. I first noticed it a few months ago. It's firm and painless but I can push down on it slightly, like it's filled with fluid, and it moves with my skin. i went to the doctor and she seemed confident it was an infected hair follicle or something similar.

More recently it feels as if the lump itself has gone down slightly, but I tried to feel what was underneath the fluid and I started to notice what feels like a sort of bony ridge, which I can only feel if I dig my nails in. It's about 1cm long and only a few mm wide, and can't be felt just by running my fingers over my scalp. I can't tell if it's attached to my skull or not. I can't keep my mind from racing, and I'm really sorry if this is the wrong place to post or an obscenely long post, but I feel so helpless over all of this. I would appreciate any advice so much. Thank you.

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

31 Aug 2015 08:17 in response to vpfrends

Hi there

Hypercondriac, I was one for ages still am my parents are as well persistantly taking me to doctors etc its ruined my life with anxiety and depression. Any detail of something on my body I would assume is cancer or disease i had multiple surgeries and check ups, nothing ever found. Its only the anxiety that will kill you, the thing is not to worry about yourself to much, worry about what you are actually doing in life and other people. Otherwise you cave in on whats physically wrong with you which is an illusion. If you have had no medical history and your just worried about something you have found on yourself again chances are its just paranoia. I remember a few years ago I found a lump on my skull and thought I had bone cancer and was crying for days on the floor! Lots of examples like that. I know where your coming from.

anywhere here to talk about it PM me if you want Im still struggling Happy



Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

31 Aug 2015 10:57 in response to vpfrends

Hi vpfriends

I too have suffered lifelong depression so I know how it is to be in your shoes. It doesnt help when friends tell you to "cheer up" or "snap out of it" if you were able to you would. Go see your GP about the lump on your head it sounds like a sebacious cyst, at some point if you squeeze it really hard a load of horrid greasy liquid will come out. Cysts can also be removed surgically usually one of the GPs at your practice will be qualified to do this.

Re your fear of death, its quite normal, thats why most people believe in some sort of afterlife.  Meanwhile its called life and it is fantastic, just take a good look around at the incredible world we live in, and try to get more involved with people, helping out those who need it where you can. Perhaps do some voluntary work at your local hospice, you will be of great benefit to the hospice whilst at the same time you may learn something about yourself and about how others cope with adversity.

Your illness is every bit as real and debilitating as cancer, but it is treatable, make an appointment with your GP and discuss openly your fears. Do take all the steps suggested by your GP, they will probably be as difficult for you as the treatments members of this forum have had to endure. Good luck with your recovery Kim

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

7 Mar 2018 12:35 in response to vpfrends
Hello, I was almost happy to come across your post not because you have it, because I have exactly the same and it's ruining my life. All what you said above is exactly how I feel most days. I suffer with depression and severe anxiety and I just think it's never going to go. I know your post was from 2015 I would love to know how your getting on and just to be talk to.someone who doesn't think I'm mad. Hope to hear back c

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

7 Mar 2018 20:58 in response to Lucie7996
Hi I have been diagnosed with low grade lymphoma, tomorrow I have to see my consultant. I am also seeing a therapist associated with the oncology unit as I am and have lways been terrified by any health related examination - I get anxious before my two yearly eye test. Luckily I saw my therapist today and feel slightly better about tomorrow’s appointment.

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

13 Mar 2018 11:17 in response to Lucie7996
Hi, I am also relieved that I am not the only one feeling like this. I’ve been suffering from extreme health anxiety for 3 years (since I had my son) and because i didn’t seek any help it’s now got worse. I’ve started to develop breathing problems, it feels like I’m lacking oxygen. I am now worried sick that I have lung cancer or a heart problem. It’s affecting every aspect of my life. The thought of dying terrifies me, as I don’t want to leave my son without a mum. I feel like I am so over protective over my son and I haven’t been able to enjoy motherhood. I have finally booked a doctors appointment for this Friday. Was there anything in particular that triggered your anxiety? Hope you hear back x

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

18 Mar 2018 23:00 in response to harvey8
Hello I’m a teenage girl and I’m 15 years old, in the past 3-4 years health anxiety has absoulutely took over my life and I’m getting the nickname “hypocondriact” and because of this a lot of people are over looking the symptoms I tend to have .At the moment I have a constant sharp chest pain and shoulder pain and the most horrible cough, I’m terriefied I have lung cancer but no one will listen to me . I’ve smoked before so I’m terrified I have this, or is it my mind just being crazy? Hope everyone is doing okay x

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

13 Apr 2018 19:11 in response to harvey8
Hi Lucy I have had your symptoms. Short of breath, it lasted about 4 week and will gradually go but if you put pressure on yourself it could last a bit longer. I also get numbness in right arm and leg which was all checked with scans and I had the all clear. I also get a knot in my stomach it’s like a build up of sadness. It comes in waves. I have also had muscles cramps, very wet mouth, and more sensitive to every ache and pain. The symptoms come and go mine started in dec 17 and are on and off but my problem is I’m always worrying about health and getting a cancer mainly. I think I know what has triggered it but I can’t just switch it off I don’t feel 100% myself if you know what I mean. The worrying is soooo draining and makes me feel worse. Mine started months after my mum was diagnosed with cancer then went away then in dec 17 it came back but full on with symptoms (I thought I was having a stroke when I went numb so went to A&E who scanned me and assured me I was fine. I have been to the GP twice this month due to breast pain and thinking I could feel something in my chest they also told me I was fine. I then decided to take action I have a CBD therapist it costs me £45 an hour but I believe it will help me. I also have a little girlie who is 3 in August and i want all my time to be with her not worrying about all my random aches and pains. I live in Manchester would be nice to make friends with someone that actually understands but I keep positive and I want to mix with other positive people as that really helps me Wink it will pass and you will feel brighter soon xxx

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

20 Apr 2018 21:28 in response to danielle1984
Hi, I know how you all feel, I have lived with this since my children were born, the fear of not seeing them grow up and being there for them is overwhelming, I have imagined every type of illness, it’s alway life threatening and going to end things in weeks. I have had so many checks over the years including surgery and never had anything wrong I have wasted so much of my life living in a dark cloud, I can now feel it coming when I have a bad spell, my wife is amazing but I fear she will not put up with me forever, I was on tablets to slow my thinking last year which did help, felt strong enough to come off them, mistake, back in the worse bout yet awaiting test results, in a period of total shut down barely able to function. I feel such a fraud, I admire and respect people who fight physical illness, they are my hero’s. I will work through this I am sure just need to stop thinking

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

20 May 2018 06:49 in response to vpfrends
honestly, its as if you have taken the thoughts out of my head and wrote this for me. Myself feel as if i am in the exact same place as you, since i was about 14 i have had dealt with depression, and when i went to uni i started to have panic attacks and i was convinced i had some kind of heart condition, i couldn't understand or except that all i was having was panic attacks and all the blood tests and visits to my GP only made me feel okay for a few days. when i finished uni things started to change for me. for about 4 months i was doing the ketogenic diet and lost about 4 stone. i felt amazing it was like i was a whole new person, but since going on holiday last year i could never get back on my diet and ive slipped back into where i was at my worse, i have recently started devolving different types of eye floaters and in my left eye is a constant blind black stop in the centre of my vision, i vised my option and she said there is nothing to worry about but i cant stop thinking i have a brain tumour, not matter how rational i think i am and the people around me are i just cant escape the thoughts, every headache i think I am getting illier and iller, i also have become obsessed with lumps and moles as my dad has recently beaten skin cancer, i cant stop smoking cigarettes and im finding im using alcohol alot more to relax and take my mind of the horrible thoughts i have, i really dont want to live this way but i dont know what to do

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

13 Oct 2018 23:18 in response to vpfrends

This condition is ruining my life even seeing someone with cancer puts fear of god in me its like I can catch it by being near me it makes me so angry too I should be glad I'm fit a well physically 

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

14 Oct 2018 00:11 in response to diane77
Firstly, you are not going to get cancer from being close to people who are living with cancer all over place. However, I seriously doubt that cancer is anywhere near you. You need to get control of the situation as you are likely to make yourself poorly and maybe develop Anxiety and depression. The chances are you have been in contact with people in your life who living with it across the world who the chances you will never know the fact. You cannot catch it by the reasons you are stating and be happy and grateful that you are well and physically fit. Without putting it bluntly you may be involved in something else that is life. Maybe, contact CRUK nurses and re-assure yourself. Keep calm and learn to understand cancer cannot be transmitted to others. If you get chance talk to a cancer Patient and you will see that we are not scary but normal people. You are talking to me and I have had my rare cancer for 12 years. It maybe a bad question? Do I sound that I would put the fear of God into you or make you angry? Ideally, you have stated no? You are great to realise that you are fit and well and don't potentially ruin your life. There are a lot of people I know who would snap your hand off to be in your healthy shoes. If possible, try to speak to someone even your GP and there are a lot of other outlets who will be able to help you over come this problem. If cancer people knew what you thought about them I am sure that they would want to help you. I would that is why I am talking to you. All the very best.

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

25 Oct 2018 21:57 in response to danielle1984

This is similar to how I feel. My mother was diagnosed back in 2009 and died a year later. I was constantly paranoid and was at the docs numerous times. It then passed briefly for a year or so. It’s since come back, my little girl has just turned 3 and we have a baby. It ruins my life, in the last week I’ve had about 5 different lumps alongside different other types I may have. I look at my children and feel sad all the time and I just want to think and feel normal. I’m in Preston xx

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

25 Nov 2018 22:02 in response to diane77

Hi Diane77 

I can completely sympathise, this disease has always terrified me to point of having to turn the adverts off on tv and then deal with the ocd tendacies for a few minutes after that the worry of this disease causes me. This month my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and I’m now convinced I could also have something, with every twinge in my stomach, every time I get acid, every time I go to the bathroom I’m a nervous wreck. I have a dull stomach ache now and it it wasn’t for knowing that the time of the month is coming I’d be in a terrible state. I feel awful for feeling like this because no matter how bad I feel my dad is feeling a million times worse. I love him, I’m terrified of seeing him go through the chemotherapy and will be there for him but I also need to distance myself at times. I would recommend you try to talk to someone about how you feel, I’m doing the same and have my first session next Saturday. Please know you are not the only one who feels like this Xx 

Severe health anxiety and cancer worries

26 Nov 2018 11:37 in response to bella8

Dear Bella8,

I believe your reaction is perfectly common when hearing such news.

You noticed i never said Sad.

It is time to look after your Dad as he will need support during his chemo. The chemo is a good bit of news as the Specialists are actively working on your Dad i guess to improve his quality of life and extra survival. If they were doing nothing it would be sad but he will be on active treatment to help him.

Bella8 you are not going to catch it so try and focus on something to take you away from the subject.

Also, maybe, research the type of Cancer that will hopefully give you a distraction but also help your loving Dad.

Try to find out the chemo and the side effects and you can plan how to work together so you both have a life.

If you need anymore please contact Myself.

very best wishes