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Kevin Ryan, MD

Kevin Ryan, MD

Dr. Kevin Ryan graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University, after which he authored numerous research and clinical papers, book chapters and abstracts in hematology/oncology, and presented research at the regional and national level while working as a professor of clinical medicine.

He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force, fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, AOA, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, Mensa, Intertel and the American College of Physician Executives.

Now retired, Dr. Ryan focuses on teaching and writing. He lives in Fairfield, CA, with his family.
Anxiety & Fear in the Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patient

It is anxiety that is the killer. 

We humans suffer most when not knowing all that needs to be known, especially when there is so much to fear. 

I choose, as do many dictionaries and as have countless great religious leaders and philosophers, to define “anxiety” as “fear of the unknown.”

I frequently relate a parable to my patients on this crucial subject. 

Let us travel back in time to the clan of the proverbial caveman. In one cave, somewhat safe from the elements and huddled about a fire, is a family fraught with anxiety toward the savage carnivores outside. These beasts only know this clan as prey. The clan shrinks under the weight of this presumed knowledge, convinced that the predators will most assuredly find and devour them. The clan huddles all the closer, shaken by every foreign sound and every dimming of the fire. They dare not move. They are not ready to battle for their next meal or to survive. 

That is the primordial example of paralysis by analysis; it is as old as man. That is anxiety.