Fear of cancer recurrence

Cancer Council Team

Fear of cancer recurrence

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all staying safe and warm during these very chill winter months. Now more than ever is a time to continue to stay connected.


A common challenge and concern for cancer survivors is a fear of the cancer coming back (a recurrence). The fear can have an impact on your physical wellbeing, your ability to enjoy life again and to make plans for the future.

People find that their most concerned at certain times these include:

  • special occasions such as birthdays
  • anniversaries (date of diagnosis or completion of treatment)
  • before follow-up appointments
  • when symptoms like those when you were first diagnosed are present again
  • the death of a family member or friend

The risk of cancer recurrence varies for each person and can depend on several factors including the type and stage of cancer, genetic factors, type of treatment and time since the completion of treatment. It is best to talk to your doctor about your risk of recurrence.  


Here are some suggestions for managing the fear:

  • focus on what you can control (e.g. positive lifestyle changes)
  • talk to your specialist & GP about your risk of recurrence
  • speak to a counsellor or psychologist if the fear becomes overwhelming
  • joining a support group
  • consider being involved in a creative activity such as pottery or art classes
  • talk to a doctor about how to distinguish normal aches and pains from cancer symptoms

How do or have you managed with these challenging times? Please share your experiences/ perspectives in the comments below.


Cancer Council has a range of resources available including on the website, click here to view the information there is a link to download the pdf version of the ‘Living Well After Cancer’ booklet (pg. 17-22).  There is a podcast on ‘Managing fear’ click here to listen.


You might also like to take a look at our webinar which discusses “Fear of cancer coming back. What can I do to stop feeling this way?”, click here to view.


Other related resources;

  • Peter Mac also have some information and a webinar on ‘Fear Less’, click here to be directed to their website
  • Peter Mac factsheet, click here
  • BCNA information and support visit their website

Thank you

Barb_CCNSW_2-1586385525550.pngThe Survivorship Team

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Re: Fear of cancer recurrence

Yes i agree with the  thought of aches and pains    Thinking is it a new  place      I know worrying isnt helpful but is always  a thought   Do other  people have these constant thoughts 

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Fear of cancer recurrence

NIce this is very helpful indeed, thanks for the advise 

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