Controlling Fear of Cancer Recurrence

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% 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 thinking about the situation causing fear. If you have an upcoming appointment, commit to delay worrying about a recurrence until meeting with your doctor.


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.


Relax by taking a yoga class, getting a massage, practicing mindfulness exercises or doing something creative.