Fear of Recurrence

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

APRIL 17, 2017

For most people recovering from a cancer diagnosis and initial treatment, this is the major fear. What if it comes back? How do I manage my anxiety and go on with my life? No matter what the details of our cancers, no one gets a promise of staying well. Cancer is a wily opponent and can behave in unpredictable ways. Someone with a "good" cancer can have a recurrence and die pretty quickly while someone with a much scarier initial presentation may stay well for the rest of her life.

Those are the facts, and this is what we have to face. It has long been clear to me that the goal is to live as though the cancer will never return. Living any other way means losing each day to worry and sadness, and then, no matter what happens, cancer wins. Living well is how we best manage and how we savor and treasure life. For me, it has also become the best way of honoring all the wonderful women whom I have known and lost to cancer. I feel that I owe it to them to live the best life that I can, to remember them and celebrate life for us all.

From Living Beyond Breast Cancer comes this very good article by Eric Fitzsimmons:

What if It Comes Back? Dealing With Fear of Recurrence

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.