Fear of progression (or fear of recurrence) is an appropriate, rational response to the real threat of cancer and cancer treatments. However, elevated levels of fear of progression can become dysfunctional, affecting well-being, quality of life, and social functioning. Research has shown that fear of progression is one of the most frequent distress symptoms of patients with cancer and with other chronic diseases. As a clear consensus concerning clinically relevant states of fear of progression is currently lacking, it is difficult to provide a valid estimate of the rate of cancer patients who clearly suffer from fear of progression. However, recent systematic reviews suggest that probably 50 % of cancer patients experience moderate to severe fear of progression. Furthermore, many patients express unmet needs in dealing with the fear of cancer spreading. These results underline the necessity to provide effective psychological treatments for clinical levels of fear of progression. A few psychosocial interventions for treating fear of progression have been developed so far. Our own, targeted intervention study showed that dysfunctional fear of progression can be effectively treated with a brief group therapy.
Herschbach, P. , Dinkel, A. (2014)., Fear of progression, in U. Goerling (ed.), Psycho-oncology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 11-29.
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