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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer


By Kristen Carter

Dear Kristen, My question is, what tips could you give to avoid “scanxiety?” I am trying to reduce the stress and anxiety when I hear I have to see another specialist or have more testing completed. A.A.

Dear A.A.,

In the same way we can imagine beautiful futures like a cure for cancer and watching our grandchildren thrive, we can imagine the most horrific futures: progression, painful treatment, devastating side effects, death.

Imagination is a uniquely human

capacity, designed to help us anticipate the future and plan accordingly. But sometimes we imagine the possibilities and let them scare the bejeebers out of us, without taking the next step and doing the planning.

I believe one of the biggest reasons scanxiety is so powerful over our imaginations is that when we fear test results, we not only imagine the worst, we assume that we will not be able to cope with it. That we will be helpless bystanders, and overwhelmed victims of what we learn.

Instead, let’s talk about all the ways you–all of us–can plan and to cope.

What I offer you today is a skill for handling whatever comes your way, one you can use with scan anxiety, seeing a new doctor, having more tests, and even the life stresses that have nothing to do with breast cancer.

Here’s what I recommend

  1. Think about what you have overcome so far in your life. I imagine it’s a lot. Write down a few of those tough situations, leaving a few lines between each one.

  2. Then think about the strengths and inner resources you used to pull you through those hard times. Name and write down any inner assets that helped you cope.

Did you rely on hope? Persistence? Digging for information? Humor? Your spirituality? Courage? Love for your family? The support of friends? Teamwork? Perspective?

These same qualities are the ones that will help you deal with any new challenge that comes your way.

A great way to find out more about your strengths is by taking the VIA Assessment of Character Strengths, which can be done for free at (an inexpensive but very informative report is also available). It’s been taken by more than 15 million people worldwide and is one of my very favorite tools for helping clients discover what makes them strong.

After taking the survey, add some of your new-found strengths to step two, above. Feel how empowering it can be to know that you can tap into all these qualities any time. They are baked into your personality and available at a moment’s notice.

Next time you begin over-imagining the awful things that could happen, remember two things: One: You get to choose the stories you tell yourself, and Two: You are equipped to handle what comes your way.

Wishing you strengths and a calm mind and body, A.A.

Much love,




Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month



July 19,  10:00 a.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

July 15 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET


Art Therapy

August 5, 6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

August 13, 11:30 a.m. ET


Forest Bathing

August 13,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

August 20,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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