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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