- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Fear of the cancer returning
- Managing the fear of recurrence
Managing the fear of recurrence
- Talk to your treatment team about your risk of recurrence and how this will be managed. Ask about the symptoms to look out for and how to distinguish normal aches, pain or sickness from cancer symptoms.
- Focus on things you can control, such as being actively involved in your follow-up appointments and making positive changes to your lifestyle to reduce the risk of recurrence.
- Recognise the signs of stress and anxiety, such as a racing heartbeat or sleeplessness. Manage these in a healthy way, for example, you could try yoga, mindfulness meditation, taking slow, deep breaths or going for a walk.
- Speak with a counsellor or psychologist if the fear of recurrence is overwhelming. They may be able to teach you some strategies to help manage your fears.
- Joining a support group may help.
- Consider getting involved in a creative activity such as drawing, painting or writing. Some people find this helpful in working through their emotions.
- Side effects of treatment can make it harder to cope emotionally. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage any ongoing treatment side effects you are experiencing.
Once treatment was finished, it was quite daunting. I was fearful that the cancer would come back somewhere. Eight years later, it hasn’t come back, which is fantastic.Pete
Podcast: Managing Fear
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
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