The Positive Impact of Cognitive Behavior Therapy on Fear of Cancer Recurrence

(May 22, 2017) A recent study from the Netherlands found that a combination of cognitive behavior therapies had a positive effect on FCR, or Fear of Cancer Recurrence. Eighty-eight cancer survivors, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, were divided into either a control group, which received usual care, or the therapy group. The participants that received therapy intervention were given face to face sessions with a psychologist, online consultations, and internet-based activities. Each patient was then assessed by a psychologist to determine if there was improvement as well as given a self-rated assessment. Twenty-nine percent of the those in the therapy group saw clinically significant improvement and 71% of them self-rated improvement in anxiety and depression.

Although some of the participants in the behavior therapy group did not complete the study, and some of the participants in the control group were able to access psychosocial services apart from the study, the study is seen as an important step forward in patient care. “It illustrates that we can do something about FCR and hopefully, it will raise the awareness of the issue among clinicians, which in turn will help us address it proactively in our patients,” said Don Dizon, MD, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society of Clinical Oncology.

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