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Nine out of ten people with breast cancer worry about the disease recurring

Nine out of ten people with breast cancer worry about the disease recurring

Almost all women who have previously had breast cancer experience anxiety about the disease recurring. Every fifth woman says that anxiety negatively affects the quality of life. This is demonstrated by a survey of members of the Breast Cancer Society, in which 3,778 breast cancer patients spoke.

Every hour a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. A cancer diagnosis puts life on the brink and brings up many emotions. At least after completing treatment.

When treatment ends, safe contact with care often ends. We live with the risk of relapse and must be alert. At the same time, we need tools and methods to deal with our fears, says Susan Dieroff Hay, president of the Breast Cancer Society.

For most people, the cancer will not come back, but the fear is there regardless. Nearly half of participants state that they have requested information about relapse. An equal proportion also sought treatment for relapse symptoms. The majority, 85 percent, of those who sought care were satisfied with the treatment they received.

To guide and support those being treated for breast cancer, the Breast Cancer Society has produced the information material 'Breast cancer recurrence – worry and warning signs'. The material provides guidance and advice on what the patient should pay attention to.

We know that fear of relapse exists for many people, and it is wise to be vigilant in a healthy way. Through our informational materials, we want to provide answers to common questions, inform you about symptoms to watch for and when to seek care, says Susan Dyruff Hay.

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Additional insights from the survey:

  • 91% are worried about relapse.
  • 20% worry that this will negatively affect their quality of life.
  • 55% use physical activity to deal with anxiety. 48% talk to a loved one and 22% practice yoga/meditation to deal with anxiety.
  • 48% sought care because of relapse symptoms. Of these, 85% were satisfied with the treatment they received.
  • 64% of those who were dissatisfied with treatment felt that their concerns were not taken seriously.

About the survey

Breast Cancer Society members were surveyed about concerns about breast cancer recurrence in October 2023. 3,778 people responded, a response rate of 42 percent.