Carcinophobia, or the fear of getting cancer, may develop when a person has had the disease or known someone else who had cancer. At first glance, it may seem easy to understand this fear: We are constantly encountering information about a newly discovered carcinogen or the possibility that something in our environment may cause cancer, and fear of it is natural. When that fear becomes overwhelming or is a barrier to daily life, however, it can be carcinophobia, which can be debilitating.
The challenges of carcinophobia.
Some people with phobias can easily avoid the object of their fears. If one has an extreme fear of flying, for example, he or she can choose not to get on a plane. For sufferers of carcinophobia, however, the fear can be constant and with them no matter where they go or what they do.
Carcinophobia can also encompass many different specific fears. These may include the fear of:
- Enduring painful treatments
- Having no one to care for them
- Leaving family uncared for
- Losing one’s hair
- Losing one’s livelihood
The combination of these fears can interfere with a person’s life, work, and relationships. The fear may become so extreme that sufferers stop leaving their homes in order to avoid potential carcinogens.
We specialize in the treatment of phobias.
Like other phobias, carcinophobia is treatable. At The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, we specialize in helping those with phobias with customized treatments.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can be very effective for anxiety-related disorders such as phobias, with successful long-term results. This treatment helps patients increase their awareness and understanding of the roles their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions play in their fear and helps them find positive ways to cope. Cognitive behavior therapy may also be augmented by anxiety disorder medications, which has proven very effective in many people.
Another effective treatment program for phobias such as carcinophobia is virtual reality therapy. This high-tech treatment provides patients an opportunity to try cognitive behavior therapy with greater safety and privacy and less anxiety.
Our therapists not only provide in-person treatment, but also offer phone and online therapies, which can be especially important when a person’s phobia makes it difficult to leave their homes.
Contact us for help.
At The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, we offer comprehensive treatment for anxiety disorders such as phobias and related disorders such as panic attacks. If you are experiencing extreme stress or anxiety due to a fear of cancer, please get in touch to schedule a confidential assessment by calling (561) 496-1094.