Dialog Box

Returning to a “new normal” 

and fear of recurrence

Returning to a “new normal”

Many cancer survivors find it difficult to get back to normal day-to-day life after their treatment finishes. Some say it never happens and life can’t return to how it was before their diagnosis. However, people say they adjust and create a ‘new normal’ for them. Sometimes people say their cancer changed their life for the better. It is a process of evolution – evolving as a different person.

While not everyone will have difficulty after treatment finishes, many say their fears won’t go away. You will need a lot of support during this time. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect

to feel good about everything straight away. Give yourself time to adjust and accept the ‘new normal’.

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 booklet

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.