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How To Deal With The Fear Of Recurrence


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Fear of recurrence is the fear that your cancer will return. 
Fear of recurrence is normal, especially right after treatment ends or when physical symptoms appear - even those of a cold. Fear of recurrence generally lessens over time, but seldom goes away entirely. Even many years after treatment, fear of recurrence may still be in the back of your mind.

Here are some ideas that have helped others deal with fear and to feel more hopeful. Each of these subjects is discussed in the sections which make up the rest of this document.


  • If fear impacts sleep, appetitie or daily life, consider contacting a health care professional. In addition to a local oncology social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist, social workers at the following two nonprofits can talk with you about your fears of cancer recurrence for free.
    • Cancer Care: Tel.: 800.813.4673 (M-Th 9AM to 8PM, Fri 9AM to 5PM, ET)]
    • AMC Cancer Information and Counseling Line. Tel.: 800.525.3777 (M-F, 9AM to 5PM, MT)
    • You can also find an oncology social worker with whom to talk at your local cancer center or through The Association of Oncology Social Work:  offsite offsite link., Tel: 215.599.6903. 
  • Fear of recurrence is sometimes called the Damocles Syndrome.

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