A qualitative exploration of the fear of recurrence among Taiwanese breast cancer survivors

Wei Shu Lai, Bih-Ching Shu, Wen Li Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is the most commonly reported problem and unmet need among breast cancer survivors. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experience of recurrence fears among Taiwanese breast cancer survivors. Methods: Three focus groups were included in this study. A purposive sampling technique was used to recruit 11 recurrence-free women at least 20 years of age from southern Taiwan who were diagnosed with breast cancer within the previous 2 years. Data were analysed and interpreted using content analysis. Results: Three themes reflecting the experience of FCR were extracted from the transcript analyses: “Trapped in insecurity,” “Suffering in silence,” and “Pretending as if nothing happened.” Participants endured a complex set of circumstances akin to silently walking the survival tightrope. Breast cancer survivors were still insecure and suffering, rather than celebrating survival, after the completion of treatment. Fear of cancer recurrence silently dominated their lives. Conclusions: An avoidance mindset and an unspoken FCR leave survivors insecure, resulting in a silent survival journey. These difficult thoughts and feelings that may impact the reconstruction of post-cancer life should be acknowledged. The development of appropriate survivorship care programs and emotional resilience regarding recurrence is needed for Taiwanese breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13113
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

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Fear
Survivors
Breast Neoplasms
Recurrence
Neoplasms
Survival
Focus Groups
Taiwan
Walking
Emotions
Survival Rate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology

Cite this

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abstract = "Objective: Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is the most commonly reported problem and unmet need among breast cancer survivors. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experience of recurrence fears among Taiwanese breast cancer survivors. Methods: Three focus groups were included in this study. A purposive sampling technique was used to recruit 11 recurrence-free women at least 20 years of age from southern Taiwan who were diagnosed with breast cancer within the previous 2 years. Data were analysed and interpreted using content analysis. Results: Three themes reflecting the experience of FCR were extracted from the transcript analyses: “Trapped in insecurity,” “Suffering in silence,” and “Pretending as if nothing happened.” Participants endured a complex set of circumstances akin to silently walking the survival tightrope. Breast cancer survivors were still insecure and suffering, rather than celebrating survival, after the completion of treatment. Fear of cancer recurrence silently dominated their lives. Conclusions: An avoidance mindset and an unspoken FCR leave survivors insecure, resulting in a silent survival journey. These difficult thoughts and feelings that may impact the reconstruction of post-cancer life should be acknowledged. The development of appropriate survivorship care programs and emotional resilience regarding recurrence is needed for Taiwanese breast cancer survivors.",
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A qualitative exploration of the fear of recurrence among Taiwanese breast cancer survivors. / Lai, Wei Shu; Shu, Bih-Ching; Hou, Wen Li.

In: European Journal of Cancer Care, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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