Fear of the Unknown
Anxiety that occurs prior to undergoing diagnostic medical tests should be taken seriously says a study presented to the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). "Not knowing your diagnosis is a very serious stressor," says lead author, Elvira V. Lang, M.D., Harvard Medical School. "It can be as serious as knowing that you have malignant disease or need to undergo a possibly risky treatment." Lang studied the stress levels of 214 women scheduled to undergo diagnostic tests. She says that healthcare providers may “downplay the emotional toll of having a diagnostic exam,” and recommends training the medical team in how to talk to patients to “diffuse tension right away and help patients to shape expectations in a more helpful fashion."