Friday, March 03, 2006

Worried Well

One of the younger Mrs Archers is coming in this afternoon. She has a fear of gastric cancer. Over the past decade she has gained around a half a stone, and she has a very poor diet, which means she has no proper "bowel habit" as our forbears would have it.

She is perfectly well. Tests have proven the fact. Twice.

But, she says, what if they're wrong. And anyway, she continues, I've got symptoms, so there.

And she's quite right. She has the sort of symptoms you might expect from stress and anxiety. Cramping abdominal pains, intermittent "loose stolls" as again our forebears would have it, very slight anaemia-- consequence of poor iron intake and monthly menstrual loss....

Hang on a minute, she says, can't those exact symptoms be attributed to malignancy...

Well yes they can, but not in someone under thirty, with no objective evidence of malignant disease. Twice. And anyway, if there were malignancy in her case she would be loosing weight.

Ah yes, she says, but I'm afraid to try to loose weight.

'Cos if I did I would worry I had cancer.

So there.

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