Fear of cancer recurrence: a theoretical review and novel cognitive processing formulation

Fardell, Joanna E., Thewes, Belinda, Turner, Jane, Gilchrist, Jemma, Sharpe, Louise, Smith, Allan (Ben), Girgis, Afaf and Butow, Phyllis (2016) Fear of cancer recurrence: a theoretical review and novel cognitive processing formulation. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 10 4: 663-673. doi:10.1007/s11764-015-0512-5

Author Fardell, Joanna E.
Thewes, Belinda
Turner, Jane
Gilchrist, Jemma
Sharpe, Louise
Smith, Allan (Ben)
Girgis, Afaf
Butow, Phyllis
Title Fear of cancer recurrence: a theoretical review and novel cognitive processing formulation
Journal name Journal of Cancer Survivorship   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-2267
Publication date 2016-08
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11764-015-0512-5
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 10
Issue 4
Start page 663
End page 673
Total pages 11
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is prevalent among survivors. However, a comprehensive and universally accepted theoretical framework of FCR to guide intervention is lacking. This paper reviews theoretical frameworks previously used to explain FCR and describes the formulation of a novel theoretical framework for FCR.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to identify conceptual frameworks or theories applied to FCR. MEDLINE, PubMED, CINAHL, AMED, PsycINFO and Web of Science were searched. Identified conceptual frameworks were reviewed for strength of evidence supporting their validity.

Results: Of 558 papers initially identified, 16 made reference to six different conceptual frameworks relating to FCR. The most comprehensive and evidence-based theoretical approach is the Common Sense Model (CSM). Other approaches have limited evidence supporting their application to FCR. Two theoretical approaches developed in the context of emotional disorders that appear to be highly relevant to FCR: the Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model and Relational Frame Theory were combined with the CSM to produce a novel cognitive processing account of FCR.

Conclusions: Few conceptual frameworks have been used consistently to guide FCR research, and not all frameworks are empirically well supported, suggesting that further discussion regarding the conceptualisation of FCR is needed. The novel theoretical framework for FCR presented highlights the multidimensional nature of FCR and the importance of cognitive processing and metacognitions in the development and maintenance of FCR.

Implications for Cancer Survivors:
The novel theoretical formulation of FCR outlined here provides a much-needed comprehensive framework to further investigate and address FCR in cancer survivors.
Keyword Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Fear of cancer recurrence
Metacognitive Therapy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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