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Fear of cancer recurrence

Worrying about cancer coming back

Feeling anxious and frightened about breast cancer returning is very common for people who have had breast cancer. These feelings can affect a person’s ability to live well and make plans for the future. These anxieties and fears are called fear of cancer recurrence.

If you have metastatic breast cancer, you may worry about your cancer spreading further. These fears are called fear of cancer progression. You can read more about fear of cancer progression here

While fear of cancer recurrence may never go away completely there are ways to manage it. In this video you will hear from Kym about how she copes with her fears of cancer recurrence:

It's okay to feel scared about it coming back. – Kym

Advice from health professionals

We asked two leading health professionals to share some information about fear of cancer recurrence and some things you might like to try to help you deal with it.

Dr Carrie Lethborg is an oncology social worker and a leading expert in cancer care. Carrie has more than 20 years’ experience supporting people with cancer and their families.

Click here to watch her advice.

Professor Bruce Mann is a surgical oncologist and a leading specialist breast surgeon. He is the Director of Breast Cancer Services for the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Director of Advanced Surgical Training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Click here to watch his advice.

Get support from the BCNA community

Research shows that people who don’t feel well supported are more likely to experience fear of recurrence that significantly affects their life. Social support is an important aspect managing the fear the recurrence. Join the Online Network and talk to others who have been there and who understand.

Support from BCNA's Helpline

BCNA Member Support Team provides support, information, resources and a referral service for people affected by breast cancer – from diagnosis through all phases of the cancer experience. We listen, support and refers callers on to the services they need.

Open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, BCNA’s Member Support Services team can be reached on 1800 500 258.