Asian Oncol Nurs.  2020 Dec;20(4):179-188. 10.5388/aon.2020.20.4.179.

Healthcare Professionals’ Experience of Fear of Cancer Recurrence among Cancer Survivors

  • 1Department of Clinical Research Design and Evaluation, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea


The purpose of this study is to explore healthcare professionals’ experience of talking about the fear of cancer recurrence with cancer survivors.
Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 healthcare professionals at two university hospitals in South Korea from August to September 2019. Interviewed healthcare professionals were oncologists and oncology nurses who had at least five years of experience in caring for cancer survivors. Interviews were recorded and transcribed for qualitative content analysis.
Participants agreed that most cancer survivors experience fear of cancer recurrence on some level. However, health care professionals rarely heard the word ‘recurrence’ directly from cancer survivors, and they responded to cancer survivors’ concern about recurrence differently. Some of them intervened in the cancer survivors’ problems actively but some had minimum communication with cancer survivors. Health professionals believed that interventions were necessary not only for the survivors but also for themselves.
Healthcare professionals need education or training on how to respond to and manage cancer survivors’ fear of recurrence in clinical settings, considering its impact on survivors’ quality of life.


Health personnel; Cancer survivors; Fear; Recurrence; Qualitative research
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