Feeling anxious and frightened about cancer recurrence is the most common fear for people after cancer, especially in the first year after treatment.

For some people, this fear may affect their ability to enjoy life and make plans for the future.

Many people who have had cancer say that, with time, they feel less anxious. You may feel more anxious at times like the anniversary of the day you were diagnosed or hearing about cancer in the media.

Make fear of recurrence a ‘back seat passenger’ in your life rather than letting it sit up front and annoy you all day and night.

Sue, Family doctor (GP)

Managing your fears

For some, it can be helpful to reflect or write about their cancer experience.

You may wish to talk to someone else who has had a similar experience or a counsellor. 

Reach out to your local Cancer Society to see what support groups or counselling they have available. 

Here are some things to work on to help with your fears:

  • live one day at a time
  • set realistic and manageable goals
  • start learning to trust your body again
  • learn positive self-talk
  • find ways to enjoy yourself
  • do the things you want to do instead of the things you ought to do
  • make plans for the future
  • distract yourself and take steps to take your mind off the fear
  • take time to relate to and enjoy your environment
Need someone to talk to?
8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday
0800 226 237 Information nurse

We know that going through cancer is tough and can raise many questions. You are not alone.

We have health professionals to answer your questions and provide the support you need. Get in touch

Last updated: December 22, 2022