Living with cancer blog

Fear of cancer recurrence is normal

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. September 23, 2011

Fear of recurrence is one of the most commonly reported concerns for cancer survivors.

This may be a long term worry that is present many years after your original diagnosis and treatment. As a cancer survivor, you know that this feeling isn't something you can easily put aside and ignore.

So, how do you move forward, let go of the fear and live your life to the fullest? Everyone deals with their fears in different ways. You may feel a sense of loss of control, or fear of the unknown, or that your future isn't what you had hoped it would be. Here are a few ideas to consider as you think about fear of recurrence...

  • What guides you? Is it your faith, knowledge, a connection to others?
  • How can you trust your body again?
  • What might help you to let go of the fear and trust that life will unfold for you?

Let's talk about these three questions. As a survivor, you may gain a better sense of faith in yourself by reconnecting with your spiritual side. This could be a religious faith or a way to connect with your own spirituality (such as art, music, or meditation). If you seek knowledge, why not join others who have had similar experiences through a virtual or in person network or support group.

Trusting in your body might mean that you plan scheduled check-in times with your primary care team, including screening exams as well as listening to your body when you notice any changes different from your norm. You might also decide to make positive changes in health habits, such as eating healthy, adding exercise to your routine or exploring stress management strategies.

Keep in mind that your feelings are normal. Recognize them as real fears and find healthy ways to move through and beyond them so that you can enjoy each day to the fullest. Please help each other by sharing your thoughts on this topic. You aren't alone.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

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Sep. 23, 2011