Fear of cancer recurrence is the worry that cancer will return or spread in the same place or another part of the body.

This fear is extremely common — almost 80 percent of all survivors experience some degree of fear of recurrence or worry their cancer might come back. This is a completely understandable reaction, especially during times of uncertainty, including between appointments or waiting for test results.

What you can do: "The 3 Ds”

  • Delay: Delay thinking about the situation causing fear. If you have an upcoming appointment, commit to delay worrying about a recurrence until meeting with your doctor.
  • Distract: Try healthy distractions like calling or hanging out with a friend, reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk or a run, or starting a new hobby.
  • De-Stress: Relax by taking a yoga class, getting a massage, practicing mindfulness exercises or doing something creative.