Here’s the truth: the anxiety starts really early, well before you are even diagnosed. It starts when you get the follow up letter after a routine mammogram. Before that moment you’ve never given your “routine” mammogram another thought. “It was recommended that additional mammographic views and possible breast ultrasound be performed.” The letter doesn’t seem to be too anxious, but you certainly are. Then your anxiety ratchets up when you go back to the clinic and while you wait for the doctor who is looking at your mammogram. When she doesn’t crack a joke with you, but rather looks so earnest and concerned about a mass that isn’t a shadow but an actual mass, the jig is up. Anxiety is often triggered by the anticipation of future events and all you can anticipate are bad things.