Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I manage the stress of an oncology consultation?"
I keep biting my nails and pulling at my cuticles. How can I stop?
Oncology consultations are anxiety provoking. However it is important to know that the advances in therapeutics in oncology is changing everyday with new promising medications. In addition, one type of cancer does not equal all types of cancer, so your experience with treatment and outcome may be very different that someone else with the same cancer and someone else with a different type of cancer. How to manage with an oncology consultation depends in part on what your coping mechanisms are. Do you find comfort in confiding with family members or having a family member or close friend accompany you? Do you find relaxation in mind/body centered activities such as meditation or yoga? Can you identify what gives you peace (music, reading books, art) or what activities can serve as a distraction (reading, movies, taking extracurricular classes)? Avoiding the internet prior to your consultation will help with the anxiety. As mentioned above, every case is different. Ask your oncologist what sites he/she recommends as a trustworthy source of information. In addition, there are various support groups that might be helpful in coping with the anxiety and with the experience. Your nails may take a hit as you search for what can help give you peace, but with time and support you will be able to manage your anxiety.