GIST patients deal with anxiety on a daily basis. It is common in patients and spouses from the time of GIST diagnosis through treatment. Scanxiety is a common issue among GIST patents as many of you may know first hand. A recent article in the New York Times has uncovered that anxiety actually lingers long after cancer.

The article states that levels of depression in both patients and spouses “tends to drop back to roughly the same levels as in the general population, only to be replaced by another mind-demon: anxiety, which can even intensify as time passes.”

There were a total of 43 studies that involved over 51,000 patients with various forms of cancer. The studies showed that nearly 18 percent of patients “experienced serious anxiety” between two to 10 years after their diagnosis. This was compared to the general population, which typically is about 14 percent.  A number of studies looked at couples specifically, and they found that anxiety grew as high as 28 percent in patients and 40 percent in their spouses.

Dr. Alex J. Mitchell, lead author of the study, and a senior lecturer in psycho-oncology at the University of Leicester in England, believes that “Anxiety is a persistent problem long after the cancer has been diagnosed.” He went on to say:

“It appears to be at least equal and perhaps more of a problem for spouses than patients. But at least in the U.K., we’re poor at helping family members when the patient is affected.”

To learn more about these studies, and to hear from patients, read the full article in the New York Times Health and Science section.