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How Can a Cancer Survivor Deal With the Fear of Recurrence?

My oncologist says my cancer is officially in remission. I know I should be thrilled, but instead, I spend every day worrying that the cancer will come back. I want to enjoy being cancer-free! How can a cancer survivor deal with the fear of recurrence?
 

Answer

Virtually all cancer survivors have fears and worries about recurrence. This is normal and healthy -- being in denial about the possibility of recurrence might set you up for missing the warning signs.
 
However, if your anxiety about recurrence prevents you from enjoying your life, then you've got a problem, and it would be a great idea to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor may suggest counseling to help you work through your fears or might even suggest anxiety medication if it appears you might have an underlying anxiety disorder.
 
Try to remember that nobody, no matter if they've had cancer or not, is guaranteed a cancer-free future or even a certain amount of time here on Earth. Whether you have days or years left to live, focus on enjoying your life, making a positive difference in the lives of those around you, and helping out in your community.
 
Keep your doctor appointments, tell your doctor about any distressing symptoms you may be having, and ask about any warning signs or red flags you should watch for. These steps will help you avoid worrying about every single ache, pain, or fever.
 
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