Fear of progression in cancer patients and survivors

Andreas Dinkel, Peter Herschbach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Fear of progression (or fear of recurrence) is an appropriate, adequate response to the real threat of cancer. 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. As a clear consensus concerning clinically relevant states of fear of progression is still lacking, it is difficult to provide a valid estimate of the rate of cancer patients who clearly suffer from fear of progression. Current evidence suggests that probably 50% of cancer survivors experience moderate to severe fear of progression. Furthermore, many patients express unmet needs in dealing with the fear of cancer spreading. These results underscore the need to provide effective psychological treatments for clinical states of fear of progression. Some psychosocial interventions for treating fear of progression have been developed. Our own, targeted intervention study showed that clinical fear of progression can be effectively treated with brief group therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Results in Cancer Research
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRecent Results in Cancer Research
ISSN (Print)0080-0015
ISSN (Electronic)2197-6767


  • Cancer worry
  • Distress
  • Fear of progression
  • Fear of recurrence


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