The fear of cancer recurrence literature continues to move forward: a review article

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Purpose of review

The volume of literature addressing fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is rapidly increasing. A summary of key developments in the research and treatment of FCR was published by Sharpe et al. in 2017, and the current review focuses on works published thereafter.

Recent findings

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to provide an up-to-date summary of peer-reviewed publications focusing on FCR. The search consisted of the most recent FCR reports published between 2016 and 2017, which can be broadly categorized as: methods of assessment; associations with FCR; FCR and caregivers; and FCR interventions.


FCR assessments continue to undergo revisions, which may have positive implications for clinicians and researchers seeking shorter measures to assess the FCR of their patients and study participants. However, research is needed to determine if a shorter FCR measure could be created using items that measure the construct alone, yet still retaining optimal sensitivity and specificity, or also with its determinants and consequences. Doing so would result in either unidimensional or multidimensional measure of FCR. Notwithstanding these matters in FCR assessment, the state of the literature continues to advance our understanding about characteristics of survivors with highest FCR, which is useful to identify patients in need of FCR interventions. These empirical results are useful to further investigate the theoretical distinctions of FCR.

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