Panic attacks

Hi all,
Just wondered if any of you had ever suffer panic attacks. I am not half way through FEC - have 4th treatment next Tuesday and I know I am almost there, but have been getting really bad pains in chest right from start. To be honest I think it is just a severe case of having panic attacks. Had ECG and chest x-ray and thankfully clear. Just wondered if anyone else has experienced anything like this. I also get really scared that cancer has spread and having not very positive throughts. Would love to hear from anybody with these symptoms. Thanks love Pam xx

Hi there
Yes I suffered from anxiety/panic attacks. I’d break out in a cold sweat and also have the irrational thoughts. I just didnt think I could cope but a visit to my doctor assured me that I was ok and that it wasnt uncommon for this kind of thing to happen. She referred me to a councellor, which I have to say I didnt need as once I had talked though my fears and concerns with her I felt a load better. I also talked to the Breast Care Sister at my unit who was just brilliant, i could ask her anything, even something I thought was totally stupid.

Maybe a councellor could help. I never used to believe in “therapy” but it did help me out previously and had my symptoms not subsided I would have gone to the councellor my doctor recommended.

Things are still new to you and you have had a load to cope with its bound to make you scared/worried. Personally one minute I was laughing and joking and the next I’d be thinking “what if???” It totally messes with your head.

I hope things settle for you soon and wish you well on your “journey”. This is also a great site with lots of friendly people. i dont post much but reading through some things help too.


Hi Pam.
I also suffer from panic attacks and they hit me about the same time during chemo as you…Managed 4th FEC but after that anxiety/panic was unbearable…was always given Lorazepam before chemo but can remember they forgot to give me it at number 3 FEC…did offer it me…but said i’d be ok…[fool !!] at number 4 was not even offered it…[why didn’t i ask!!!]…was so bad that chemo stopped at number 4 after many detailed indepth condultations with onc., BCN and another onc.,
I was given Citilopram…an anti=depressant which apty is s’posed to help with anxiety, was also at that time on Tamazepam.
Can completely understand how you are feeling… you are almost there…why not ask if you can be given Lorazepam prior to treatment…if it helps you get through the rest it’s got to be worth it.
I also found reflexology helped.

Hang in there you can do it.

karen x

Hi Pam

I have had panic attacks in the past due to other problems and when I was dx they returned and they are quite worrying, I find that Bachs Rescue Remedy and breathing in thru nose for 4 seconds hold for 4 seconds blow out slowly thru mouth for 4 seconds wait 4 seconds then repeat. Do not repeat more than 4 times tho as some people get light headed. It really helped to calm me down, when I was panicking it was hard to do it but persevere and it will get easier. It reallly does help stop some of the physical symptoms of panic attack.

Counselling for your worries can help too, even if you just go once like Donna above did. It is hard for us to voice our worries to loved ones and it really helps to talk to a trained stranger,I found it hard at first but they dont’ push you and let you take your time. It lets you offload and helps you to rationalise your fears. In the past I have suffered really bad depressions periodically and have found counselling to be extremely helpful. It is perfectly normal for you to have these feelings and thoughts considering what you are going thru but all will pass in the fullness of time. I am sure your BCN can help and also your GP. Good luck with your recovery and take care.

As you can see here from the number of posts made, anxiety and panic attacks are common, and you are not alone in experiencing them. But they can be truly awful, and you do not have to cope alone. It is important you can speak with your GP and or breast care nurse about how you are feeling.
They will have helped many people who have felt in a similar situation to yourself.
Sometimes medication is needed to help calm the anxiety initially, there are also many other ways you can help reduce the impact the anxiety is having upon you.
Some GP’s refer on for cognitive behaviour therapy, which has shown to be very beneficial in treating both anxiety and depression.

Some people try complementary therapies such as aromatherapy or reflexology, and again these have shown to help reduce anxiety.

I would say it is always important to discuss with your specialist before starting any complementary therapies and do always check that the therapist has training and experience in treating some one who has had a cancer diagnosis.
For more information about complementary therapies you may want to read our booklet, the web link is;

Clinical Nurse Specialist - New Media

Hi Pam,
I know what you mean. I was really worried about the anxiety as I usually get panic attacks at the best of times. I tried going on Citalapram when I was diagnosed to calm me down but it didn’t suit me. It just made me feel much worse.
I now use Diazapam and try to be really sensible with it and only use it when really necessary. It has been great and I am someone who didn’t like taking any medication apart from homeopathic drugs before this.
I take one before my FEC (I had number 3 last wednesday) and it seems to calm me down. I also take one every night for the first few nights to help me get off to sleep.
There are other times when I get anxious and scared and I know I can take the Diazapam if I need it. I try to get by on just lying down or meditating.
I also have a spiritual healer before the treatment and in between. This also helps with the anxiety.
Good Luck
Lorna x


I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone!
Whilst I was on FEC I suffered from pretty bad panic attacks and often happen anywhere at anytime and sometimes there was no reason for them but other times there was! I even had them during the night when I would just wake up with one!

I have used a couple of relaxing and calming down techniques one that I found that really helpded was to breath in whilst counting to seven then breath out whist counting to 11 - it sounds daft but it worked for me!

They have eased off know that I have finished FEC

Hope all goes well

Hi there
Dont worry as you can see you are not alone. I think its such a shock to be told you have cancer then you have to undergo all sorts of treatment before you know it.
I had panic attacks and severe anxiety during my first chemo and now have lorazipam before each treatment. I find it really takes the edge off it.
I also have been having counselling because of my anxious and depressed feelings. It has really been helping. I also do deep relaxation with my counsellor and have a cd to listen to at home.
At my hosp you can have 6 complimentary treatments like massage. Take advantage of anything like this because it does help.
I have also been for hypnotherapy which is good. I also saw a very reputable physcic which was reassuring.
Next week I will have my 6th treatment then I have 1 to go. I can honestly say I thought I would never get this far but I have.
I wish you all the best and can assure you we all get negative thoughts from time to time.
Alison x

Im absolutely petrified of needles…in an incredible hulk kind of way…so blood tests and chemo was a major trauma for me. Not the treatment itself, just the sharp pointy stick that had my name on it all over. As long as I didnt see it, I was fine, yet walking into the chemo unit was enough to start the panic rising as I could see everyone elses needles.
If I see it…i get god knows how many peoples strength. So it got to be a routine…sit down…pillow in lap…hand in bowl for veins to come out of hiding…all chemo sharp sticks hidden away…when veins up…dry hand…hand on pillow…big wadge of tissues to hide behind…and chew chewing gum like no tomorrow, try and count in head pulse rate as its hammering in my ears…use interesting words for insertion…all needles then hidden…come out from behind the tissues and babble non-stop for the whole time it took.
Someone suggested I had acupuncture…hmmm what part of needle phobia do you not get! The powers that be have sussed that if they give me enough notice about a needle i fall to pieces and have several panic attacks, enough to freeze up and not go into the room…sooooo fair enough, chemo i knew what was coming, so had to stew over that…but any other needles that have my name on…well they tell me about 10 minutes before i have to have it so i havent got a chance for my brain to register the real real panic.