Send to

Choose Destination
J Psychosoc Oncol. 2019 Sep 11:1-18. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2019.1649338. [Epub ahead of print]

Fear of cancer recurrence and associations with mental health status and individual characteristics among cancer survivors: Findings from a nationally representative sample.

Author information

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California , Sacramento , CA , USA.
Division of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California , Davis , CA , USA.
Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital , Boston , CA , USA.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine , Davis , CA , USA.


Purpose: To describe the prevalence of fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) and test its associations with validated mental health status measures. Design: Cross-sectional survey using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement. Sample: Post-treatment cancer survivors (n = 1032). Methods: Survey-weighted U.S. population-based estimates describe the prevalence of sociodemographic, health and mental health characteristics of cancer survivors by their level of FCR. Multinomial logistic regression was used to test associations of validated measures of mental health status and individual characteristics on levels of FCR in unadjusted models and those controlling for sociodemographic and health characteristics. Findings: Overall, 34.3% of cancer survivors reported no FCR, 54.4% reported low FCR, and 11.3% reported high FCR. Cancer survivors were at increased risk of reporting high FCR relative to no FCR if they had a low 12-item Short Form Health Survey Mental Component Summary score (≤48) compared to high scores (odds ratio = 2.88; 95% confidence interval = 1.57, 5.29). Reporting depressive symptoms or psychological distress did not significantly increase the risk of reporting high or low FCR relative to no FCR. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study is the first to provide U.S. population-based estimates of associations between FCR and individual and health characteristics. Implications for Psychosocial Providers or Policy: Our results provide valuable information about which survivors are most at-risk for FCR. Future research is needed to more clearly differentiate FCR from other constructs.


anxiety; cancer survivors; depression; fear; survivorship

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center