Anxiety at a glance

Anxiety—a general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease—is common among people with cancer. Identifying and managing anxiety may be important parts of your cancer treatment plan. Triggers include fear, uncertainty, and conflict. Symptoms of anxiety include excessive worrying, restlessness, agitation, difficulty concentrating, and more. Anxiety is linked to worse inflammation—a body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more factor linked to cancer—and cancer outcomes. 

Several self-care practices and complementary therapies can help you manage anxiety. Those with the best evidence of effectiveness are listed here. Anxiety may also be a symptom of stress. If stress is contributing to your anxiety, managing your stress will be important in reducing it.

Top practices and therapies for managing anxiety

The effects of these practices and therapies on anxiety are described on What approaches can help you manage anxiety? ›

Therapies and practices we have reviewed

Further therapies

Therapies recommended in clinical practice guidelines; see guidelines ›



Music therapy and other forms of expressive arts therapies

Psychosocial therapies:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM)
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
  • Supportive/expressive therapy

More therapies are listed on What approaches can help you manage anxiety? ›

Seek professional help if needed. Diagnoses such as anxiety can require therapy from trained practitioners for management. We encourage you to explore the options available to you through your cancer team and others. Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.


Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant


Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: May 24, 2024

Last full literature review: July 2021

CancerChoices provides information about u0022integrativeu0022u0022 cancer care. We review u0022complementaryu0022u0022in therapies and u0022self-careu0022u0022 practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of u0022conventionalu0022u0022the and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.