You’ve battled and beaten back a bout of cancer, so now you can take comfort in your victory, right?
Wrong, claims new research that found most cancer patients and survivors fear their disease will return once treatment ends, a new analysis shows.
Researchers reviewed 46 studies from 13 countries and found that 59% of cancer survivors and patients had at least a moderate level of fear of cancer recurrence, while 19% have a high level of fear.
On average, women and younger people had a greater fear of cancer recurrence. Cancer patients and survivors had similar rates of fear of cancer recurrence, according to the findings published April 6 in the journal Psycho-Oncology.
“Knowing the prevalence and severity of fear of cancer recurrence for the general cancer population and for different subgroups is an important development, because it is essential for shaping health care provision, policy and research on fear of cancer recurrence,” study author Yvonne Luigjes-Huizer said in a journal news release. She’s a Ph.D. candidate at the Helen Dowling Institute and the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Further research is needed to identify patients who want support to help them with their fear of cancer recurrence, as well as to determine how to tailor such assistance to different levels of fear and to individual patient needs and preferences, according to the paper’s authors.
For more on life after cancer treatment, see the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCE: Psycho-Oncology, news release, April 6, 2022