Psychosocial predictors of fear of cancer recurrence in a cohort of gynecologic cancer survivors

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7 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe fear of cancer recurrence in a cohort of women with gynecologic cancers and to identify psychosocial predictors of elevated fear of recurrence. Methods: Survey data from an ongoing cohort study of gynecologic cancer survivors were used (n = 154). Relationships between fear of cancer recurrence measured by the 6-item Cancer Worry Scale in the most recent survey and psychosocial factors (cancer-related distress, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and posttraumatic growth) assessed 6–18 months prior were examined using univariate and multivariate linear regression models, adjusting for age, cancer stage, cancer type, and time since diagnosis. Results: Most participants were ≥60 years old, diagnosed with early-stage cancer, and 2–5 years post-diagnosis. The mean score on the Cancer Worry Scale was 10.31 (SD = 3.01), and 46 individuals (30.0%) scored ≥12, indicating high fear of recurrence. In univariate analyses, greater distress (p = 0.007), anxiety (p = 0.006), hopelessness (p = 0.007), and posttraumatic growth (p = 0.0006) were significantly associated with higher scores on the Cancer Worry Scale. The associations of hopelessness and posttraumatic growth with higher Cancer Worry Scale scores remained significant after adjustment for covariates. Conclusions: Fear of recurrence is frequent among gynecologic cancer survivors. Women who reported more distress, hopelessness, anxiety and, surprisingly, more post-traumatic growth reported more fear. These results contribute to our understanding of which cancer survivors are most at risk of elevated fear of recurrence and highlight the importance of continued focus on psychosocial well-being among cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2148
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA77598, UL1TR002494) and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. RIV is supported by a Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program Ovarian Cancer Academy Early Career Investigator Award (OC180392 W81XWH‐19‐1‐0013).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Psycho-Oncology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • fear of cancer recurrence
  • gynecologic neoplasms
  • oncology
  • posttraumatic growth
  • psycho-oncology
  • psychosocial oncology
  • survivors


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