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Cancer Pract. 1994 Nov-Dec;2(6):417-20.

After treatment ends: neutral time.


For persons diagnosed with cancer, the remission period may be marked by increased anxiety and distress. While the medical team may view remission as an eagerly anticipated milestone, the decreased medical surveillance during this time can cause a heightened fear of recurrence for the patient. One author has called this period of remission "neutral time," a time characterized by uncertainty. The safety signal hypothesis, developed by Martin Seligman, may help to explain the anxiety experienced by some patients during the remission period. Because cancer is frequently a silent disease with no overt symptoms, patients in remission often have no safety signal to indicate that the disease will not return. A case study is presented and discussed in light of these two concepts.

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