Fear of cancer recurring is a real concern. Up to 50 per cent of cancer patients have a significant fear of recurrence. This can impact their life in many ways including a lack of planning for the future, avoidance of or excessive use of medical services and a decrease in quality of life.
Associate Professor Jane Beith has been working on a clinical trial using Metacognitive Therapy. A/Prof Beith describes Metacognitive Therapy as worrying about worrying. “For instance, a patient will worry that if they don’t worry about their cancer coming back, they won’t pick it up and they’ll have a worse outcome,” says A/Prof Beith.
The trial team designed a novel psychological intervention called Conquer Fear, based on Metacognitive Therapy. The randomised trial was performed on 222 cancer survivors and found that there was a significant decrease in their total fear of recurrence as well as a reduction in the severity of the fear, in the cancer survivors who’d experienced the Conquer Fear intervention.
A/Prof Beith is a medical oncologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. She attended the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago this year. In this video, she speaks to The ASCO Post about the trial.