Cancer Survivors – How to Have Hope Through the Fear of Recurrence

June 5th, 2022, is National Cancer Survivors Day – a day that increases awareness of cancer survivors and supports their quality of life. A survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and has survived it. The day celebrates all cancer survivors and those who supported them throughout their diagnosis and treatment. The celebration also hopes to inspire all those recently diagnosed to give the good fight to beat cancer.

If you are a cancer survivor, the fear that your cancer will return is a valid feeling. And a day like National Cancer Survivor Day may even make you anxious as you remember your battle and journey. You are not alone. Many survivors share their concerns and fears. Fortunately, there are ways to manage your fear of recurrence:

Feeling Scared Is OKAY! Find Emotional Support In Others

Cancer can be traumatizing – from when you first suspected your symptoms were serious to your diagnosis to your treatment. And now that you’ve survived it, you can’t help but be scared of every ache and pain, thinking that cancer may be back, and you have to go through it all over again.

Don’t ignore your negative feelings. Confront them by naming them. Accept that you will experience fear and anxiety, but also recognize that these feelings are natural and common for people who have been through the same experience.

Some people who have beat cancer but still struggle with fear and anxiety have found that talking with other survivors helps. You may feel that those who don’t have personal experience in what you have been through physically and emotionally will not understand you as well as those who have. Other survivors may help by showing support as you express your emotions and or share how they cope and stay positive.

Alternatively, you may seek counseling from a qualified therapist, especially if your mental health is at risk due to unmanageable fears. Remember, a good mental state also has positive effects on your physical health!

Start Living Your Best Life

Do the things you may have been afraid to do previously. Engage in hobbies that you love or discover new activities you might enjoy. Connect with people that keep you positive. Focus on your wellness by redirecting your energy towards a healthy lifestyle. Find a balance between enjoying your life and accepting that you’ve been through a traumatic experience.

Continue To Educate Yourself

Be proactive and learn about prevention, symptoms, screenings, and diagnosis. Channel your fear in a positive way by paying attention to your body. Educate yourself about the diet and lifestyle habits that help prevent cancer so that you’re preventing your cancer from recurring and lowering your risk for other cancers. Recognize your own risks for cancer based on your age, gender, genetics, and other factors. Know if you should be talking to your doctor about getting screening tests because you may be at a certain age or considered high-risk. 

To learn more about cancer screening, prevention, and treatment, contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology. At Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology, more than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.