Research Topic

Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Fear of Cancer Recurrence

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About this Research Topic

We invite authors to submit papers to this Research Topic: “Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Fear of Cancer Recurrence”, in light of the introduction of the Psycho-Oncology Section within Frontiers in Psychology.

Uncertainty, anxiety, and fear of cancer recurrence or progression (FCR) have been related to ...

We invite authors to submit papers to this Research Topic: “Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Fear of Cancer Recurrence”, in light of the introduction of the Psycho-Oncology Section within Frontiers in Psychology.

Uncertainty, anxiety, and fear of cancer recurrence or progression (FCR) have been related to threat appraisal, meta-cognitive beliefs about worry, intolerance of uncertainty, cognitive biases towards physical symptoms, existential concerns including worries about death and dying, and social factors including family and friends who attempt to suppress discussion of cancer fears. Uncertainty is a patients’ inability to determine the meaning of illness-related events, and can be a result of ambiguity (conflicting, incomplete or inadequate information); complexity (difficult to understand information); and unpredictability (likelihood or risk of the future outcome of the disease). Anxiety in cancer can arise due to existential threat, uncertainty, fear of challenging tests, treatments and side-effects, and loss of meaning and coherence. Meanwhile, FCR is the fear, worry or concern relating to the possibility that cancer will come back or progress, and may relate to fear of death and dying, fear of undergoing aversive treatments again, or other issues. Impacts of these constructs have been described as behavioral (e.g. increased or decreased surveillance and body-checking), cognitive (e.g. intrusive thoughts of cancer), emotional (e.g. distress), and social (e.g. inability to plan holidays for fear of a recurrence).

Uncertainty, anxiety, and FCR are all relevant across the cancer trajectory, for patients and family members grappling with a high risk of cancer, diagnosis, treatment, the post-treatment abyss when the patient moves away from intense multi-disciplinary care, long-term survivorship, relapse, and end-of-life care.

We envision this Research Topic to draw together recent advances in understanding the intersecting roles, predictors, and impacts of these three constructs. We are open to diverse contributions to these constructs, including systematic reviews, theoretical overviews, and original research across the cancer trajectory. We are particularly interested in research, case studies or reflections on the impact of Covid-19 on these constructs, but this is not a requirement.


Keywords: Uncertainty, Anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence, FCR, fear of cancer progression, death anxiety


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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