Media Room

Free Cancer Council webinar: Fear of cancer coming back

28th March 2018 - Patient support

Cancer Council NSW is inviting people to register for the free online webinar on Thursday, 5 April to discuss practical tactics on how to manage the fear of cancer coming back.

The latest webinar in Cancer Council NSW’s free series will feature a panel discussion with guest speakers Ben Smith (Postdoctoral Fellow), Jemma Gilchrist (Clinical Psychologist) and cancer survivor Anna Hrynko, who will talk about her personal cancer experience.

The webinar will explore one of the most common fears for cancer survivors – the fear of cancer returning (recurrence). The panel will discuss ideas to help cancer survivors cope with these concerns.

Cancer survivors face many emotional, psychological and practical day-to-day demands – all on top of the physical impacts of cancer and its treatment. It can be difficult to return to everyday life; feelings of isolation and fear are common.

For some people, this fear of cancer coming back may affect their ability to enjoy life and make plans for the future. Some survivors say that with time their fears lessen, but many people still find they worry at certain times and aren’t sure how to control these fears.

Cancer Council NSW’s Cancer Support Services Director, Annie Miller said that it is important to consider the long-term impact of cancer survivorship.

“Cancer survivors often tell us that in the lead-up to their check-ups they worry about hearing that the cancer has returned,” said Ms Miller. 

“It is normal at these times to feel anxious about the cancer returning, but learning some practical ways to better manage these fears can help ease the worry for cancer survivors and their family,” said Ms Miller.

To register for Cancer Council NSW’s April webinar, watch previous webinars or find out about other upcoming Cancer Council NSW webinars, visit:

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Notes to Editor:

Cancer Council NSW’s webinar will air live on Thursday, 5 April from 7:00pm to 8:00pm (AEST). The webinar is open to people of any age who have been affected by cancer, either as a patient, family member, carer or health professional. Participants can log on from any device anywhere around Australia.

When registering, and during the live discussion, participants are invited to submit questions, some of which will be discussed during the last 15 minutes of the webinar. A link to the recorded webinar and other supporting resources will also be emailed to all registrants following the live event. 

Guest Speakers:

Ben Smith

Dr Ben Smith is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT), Ingham Institute and UNSW Australia. Previously Ben jointly coordinated the ConquerFear study, which found that a novel therapist-delivered intervention (ConquerFear) was effective in reducing fear of cancer recurrence. Ben is leading the development of an online version of ConquerFear to make evidence-based treatment for fear of cancer recurrence more accessible. Ben is also helping advance international research on fear of cancer recurrence through his role as deputy chair the International Psycho-Oncology Society Fear of Cancer Recurrence Special Interest Group.

Anna Hrynko

Anna Hrynko is 47 and grew up in Melbourne. Her mother and two great Aunts all passed away from breast cancer. In 2012 Anna was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer in one breast and then had a mastectomy, axillary lymph node clearance, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a targeted drug by a port a cath iv. Anna had genetic testing because of her strong family history. Whilst the results were inconclusive, she decided to have all the prophylactic surgery, oophorectomy and mastectomy of the other breast. Anna then had a full breast reconstruction, which was a very challenging time. A month later Anna was back in hospital having half her thyroid removed as it was suspicious. Fortunately it was all clear. Anna has been through the works, with all her treatments and nine operations in four years. Anna remembers her GP saying “Cancer is aggressive and you need to treat it aggressively”. Anna co-facilitates a support group for young women with breast cancer.  Last year she completed two fun runs, the 8km Mother’s Day Classic and 14km City2Surf. It was a huge challenge & achievement to celebrate her 5 year Anniversary. Anna manages her fear of recurrence by keeping her immune system strong, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing her stress and being grateful.

About Cancer Council:

Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer-free future every day.

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