Fear of Recurrence
For all of us, the biggest fear associated with breast cancer is the fear of recurrence. One of my first blogs was about this: http://bidmc.org/YourHealth/BIDMCInteractive/Blogs/LivingwithBreastCancer.aspx?order=asc&entry=132 It is hard enough to have a diagnosis of early breast cancer, to cope with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, to lose our hair, to give up our feelings of immortality and to adapt to a changed life and body perspective. All of this pales, however, is comparison to feelings associated with a diagnosis of metastatic of Stage IV breast cancer. Some women have a first diagnosis which is Stage IV; their path is different and demanding and very hard. I have a wonderful weekly group for women with Stage IV breast cancer, and we talked yesterday about the difference between having a first diagnosis which is already Stage IV vs having been treated, had a period of good health, and then having the cancer recur. Our shared opinion was that one is not harder or easier than the other; both situations are terrible, and they are just different.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www.lbbc.org) has some resources that may be helpful in considering these issues. Note especially their free teleconference in May. I have just finished consulting with them on a new brochure about recurrence fears; when it is ready (soon), it will be excellent. In the meantime: Fear of Recurrence
Fear of recurrence is a common fear shared by many women who have completed initial treatment for breast cancer. LBBC has a number of resources to help you cope with concerns and anxiety about breast cancer coming back: