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Fear of Cancer Recurrence

"A lot of people talk about feeling like they're waiting for something else to come, because the unthinkable has already happened."
— Amy Grose, MSW, LICSW 

Dealing with the Fear of Cancer Recurrence

A normal part of surviving cancer means fearing that cancer will come back. This concern may lessen over time, or it may stay the same. Either way, there are strategies you can use to overcome your worries.

What You Can Do

  • Acknowledge your fear. Accept that you sometimes may worry about cancer coming back, and find ways to deal with your fears.
  • Talk about it. Don't fall to the tyranny of silence. It's OK to talk about your fears and concerns, either for yourself or for a loved one. Communicate what everyone is feeling.
  • Live your life. Pursue activities that may help distract you from your worries. Exercise, read a book, or talk with friends.
  • Learn the signs of a recurrence. Ask your doctor and your health care team about potential warning signs of a recurrence. This knowledge may help ease your concerns.
  • Get help with emotional stresses. The fear of recurrence may be linked with other problems, such as anxiety or depression.
  • Understand how your emotions may change after cancer treatment. Just as you need to take care of your body after treatment, you need to take care of your emotions.

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