Depression and anxiety, and Head & Neck Cancer

Posted by Maureen, Alumna Mentor @alpaca, Jul 7, 2018

Hello, everyone.Recently I attended a talk by a health psychologist who sympathised greatly with the stress suffered by head and neck cancer patients. She gave us this list of exercises to do when we are in panic mode. I think I will use them when the scope goes up my nose and down my throat or when waiting for results. Funnily enough I did something similar every time the mask came down during radiation.

Distraction exercises

These distraction exercises can give you brief respite from feelings of stress and anxiety. While having ‘time out’ you can feel a greater sense of calm. These work because they are simple but require you to focus on the exercise which distracts you from what is going on.

1) Subtract 7’s down from 100 2) Say the alphabet backwards 3) Recite the 13 times table 4) Recite the words to a nursery rhyme 5) Think of countries/names/food that start with the letter A, B, C, D and so on 6) Focus on your breathing, one breath at a time 7) Connect with what is going on around you – name 5 things you can see, touch, hear, taste and smell (leave the taste and smell out if you have nausea, or if your taste and smell have changed)

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Head & Neck Cancer Support Group.

@jeffk @lisa_sj99 @jtw96 @mrsjhagen18 @sylviapf @loli @karly @trudivo @angelag @ssimons @deborahe @gaybinator @emmur16 @udderplace @carebear @hoppy @ileanabalcu How many of you experienced some degree of depression and/or anxiety at diagnosis, during or post treatement for head and neck cancer.

@alpaca offers distraction exercises that she recently learned about, but realized that she had put into practice while in treatment.

What coping strategies did or do you use? Is depression or anxiety remain a part of reality today?


Thanks, Colleen. I haven't mastered the tag yet. Back to social media school!

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