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Interventions to Manage Uncertainty and Fear of Recurrence in Female Breast Cancer Survivors: A Review of the Literature

Gretchen Dawson

Lydia T. Madsen

Joyce E. Dains

cancer recurrence, fear of recurrence, breast cancer survivors
CJON 2016, 20(6), E155-E161. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.E155-E161

Background: Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is one of the largest unmet needs in the breast cancer survivor population. This review addresses this unmet need with the question: What available interventions manage uncertainty and FCR in female breast cancer survivors?

Objectives: The purpose of this article is to better understand potential interventions to manage FCR when caring for breast cancer survivors.

Methods: Databases used were PubMed, CINAHL®, Google Scholar, EMBASE, and Scopus. Articles published in English from 2009–2014 with female breast cancer survivors and interventions that address FCR as an endpoint or outcome measure or objectively illustrate an improvement in FCR were included. One hundred ninety-eight articles were initially identified in this literature review search. Upon detailed review of content for relevance, seven articles met criteria to be included in this review.

Findings: This literature review provided current evidence of published interventions to manage uncertainty in the female breast cancer survivor population, as well as future research recommendations. Interventions surrounding being mindful, managing uncertainty, having more effective patient–provider communication, and handling stress through counseling are options for managing FCR.

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