Fear of Cancer Progression: Findings From Case Studies and a Nurse-Led Intervention

Anne M. Reb, PhD, NP; Tami Borneman, RN, MSN, CNS, FPCN; Denice Economou, RN, PhD, CHPN; Marissa A. Cangin, PsyD; Sunita K. Patel, PhD; Louise Sharpe, PhD


Background: Fear of cancer recurrence or progression (FOP) is a significant concern for cancer survivors. With the advent of new targeted therapies and immunotherapy, many patients with advanced cancer are living longer while dealing with uncertainty and fears related to cancer progression. Although some level of FOP is normal and adaptive, high levels adversely affect quality of life and healthcare costs.

Objectives: This article describes a nurse-led intervention for managing FOP in two patients with advanced gynecologic cancer. The intervention teaches skills for managing worry, challenging unhelpful beliefs, and modifying unhelpful coping behaviors.

Methods: Preliminary findings from the two case studies are presented, including a comparison of post-treatment FOP scores to baseline scores.

Findings: The participants reported feeling more focused, less overwhelmed, and more in control of their worries. Both participants achieved statistically reliable improvements in FOP scores.

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