Dialog Box

Follow up care and fear of recurrence

Read some strategies to assist with completing treatment, including managing the fear of recurrence.

Follow up care

After completing treatment, many women go into a period of remission, where there is no evidence of ovarian cancer.

You and members of your healthcare team will talk about your follow-up care. Follow-up programs are designed to monitor your health and give you ongoing physical and emotional support.

Your follow-up care is a personal choice. For most women, a scheduled program provides continuity, structure and a sense of more active involvement in managing their health, even if they do become anxious before follow-up visits.

For other women, the anxiety of follow-up visits can be too unsettling. They may choose to simply contact a member of their treatment team to discuss symptoms or other concerns if they need to.

For more detailed information about follow up care, please see Chapter 3: Staying Well of our Resilience Kit

Fear of recurrence

One of the most common worries women have after finishing cancer treatment is fear of their cancer coming back. You may hear this called ‘fear of cancer recurrence’ or, for some women, ‘fear of cancer progression’. Having these fears is a natural and expected reaction. And we know a certain amount of worry can help us problem-solve and find ways to move through our concerns. For example, your fear of a recurrence may lead you to seek further useful information from your medical team or to join a support group. Fears may motivate you to take positive actions that help you feel more in control. 

For some women, though, their fear is so strong that it will interfere with their day-to-day life and relationships. This may make planning for the future difficult. 

With time, most women say their fear of the cancer coming back does lessen, although for many it never completely goes. However, many women also say there are things you can do to help manage your fear of recurrence.

Fear of cancer recurrence factsheet

Our ‘Fear of cancer recurrence’ booklet provides comprehensive information and discusses cancer recurrence and suggests some tips on how to help you manage your fears.