Purpose: Fear of recurrence (FoR) is a prevalent and difficult experience among cancer patients. Most research has focused on FoR among breast cancer patients, with less attention paid to characterizing levels and correlates of FoR among oral and oropharyngeal cancer survivors. The purpose was to characterize FoR with a measure assessing both global fears and the nature of specific worries as well as evaluate the role of sociodemographic and clinical factors, survivorship care transition practices, lifestyle factors, and depressive symptoms in FoR. Methods: Three hundred eighty-nine oral and oropharyngeal survivors recruited from two cancer registries completed a survey assessing demographics, cancer treatment, symptoms, alcohol and tobacco use, survivorship care practices, depression, and FoR. Results: Forty percent reported elevated global FoR, with similar percentages for death (46%) and health worries (40.3%). Younger, female survivors and survivors experiencing more physical and depressive symptoms reported more global fears and specific fears about the impact of recurrence on roles, health, and identity, and fears about death. Depression accounted for a large percent of the variance. Lower income was associated with more role and identity/sexuality worries, and financial hardship was associated with more role worries. Conclusions: FoR is a relatively common experience for oral and oropharyngeal cancer survivors. Many of its correlates are modifiable factors that could be addressed with multifocal, tailored survivorship care interventions. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Assessing and addressing depressive symptoms, financial concerns, expected physical symptoms in the first several years of survivorship may impact FoR among oral and oropharyngeal cancer survivors.
- Fear of recurrence
- Oral and oropharyngeal cancer
- Survivorship care
ASJC Scopus subject areas