Fear of cancer returning

Hello everyone, I have been wary of posting this as someone who has had a recurrence, but hope that sharing my thoughts will be of some use to some of you.
I was originally diagnosed in 1997 when I was 38 and had 2 kids aged 9 and 11. I prayed for time to see them grow up and went through periods of waking through the night in panic about the future. But after a couple of years I realised that the thing I had to fear most was that bc might come back without me having enjoyed any of the time in between. This totally changed my perspective and I started to plan good things for myself and family, and then later, with my girlfriends. The thing is, the more of the planned fun I had, the more I realised that I could plan ahead without being stymied by anxiety and it made my confidence in the future grow.
Last year I had my 50th birthday which was superb, I was at my fittest and felt great, surrounded by a houseful of people I love and want to spend time with.
when the bc recurred earlier this year I was very shocked, because I had stopped waiting for it to happen, which is my point, really, that we have no control over some of the things that happen to us, but most of us are lucky enough to be able to have control over our lives in the meantime. I’m not pleased that the bc has recurred and I do get scared, but I had 12 years between initial diagnosis and this one, and 10 of those were some of the best years of my life.
I worry about sounding like Pollyanna, and/or that I am lecturing - certainly don’t mean to, I just hope that another perspective is helpful to someone. I
best wishes

Hi All,
I want to pick up on the comments buckwheat made about doing lots or one positive thing when the anxiety gets bad. I do Tai chi and find I can relax and then let the anxiety go. I also have shiatsu which helps relax me and get in contact with my body. I was offered this by the hospital as part of the alternative therapies package.
It’s not easy coping with the anxiety that BC causes, it’s something I feel like I’m grappling with and it wants to overwhelm me!
But somehow focusing the mind andor body helps me to lower the anxiety
Best wishes all on this thread

Hi Everyone,
It’s been great for me reading this thread totally empathising with you and taking onboard some good coping tips! It’s almost a year since my treatment finished and 2 since I was diagnosed. Like us all I worry a lot…hard not to, but try and eat the right things and exercise to make me feel I’m trying my best to keep the bc away. I often wonder about giving up work as i get quite stressed and believe that stress can have a negative impact on health? I don’t know…just want to give myself the best poss chance of it not returning as I’m sure we all do, if only there was some magic regime to stick to eh?! I agree that focusing on having a good time and enjoying everyday pleasures is important, I’m just looking at holidays, eventhough they are too expensive!!! Thanks for all your advice on this thread and for making me feel that alot of my thoughts and worries are quite normal for someone in our situation.
Take care

I do a bit of yoga and meditation and find it really helps with being anxious; meditation also gets my mind focused when I need to have a clear head for work. These were things I got into shortly after I finished chemo and I got into them via a 6 weeks study I was asked to volunteer for at my local cancer centre. It was an experiment they were running with my breast clinic and the findings were being presented to the surgeons, to see if they could divert funding to it. It now runs all the time and is offered to people with other cancers as well. Apparently, men with prostate cancer rave about it and think it’s great.

We were all given notes every week and I still go back and read mines from time to time. At the end we had to write a personal letter to ourselves which the psychologist on the course posted to us 2 months after finishing. I’ve read it again recently and it has let me see how far I have come since I went on the course over 2 years ago.

I was diagnosed on the 3rd September this year. I have had surgery, including full lymph node removal a couple of weeks ago. I now face the prospect of several cycles of chemo.
I am 38 years old and have two young children. I don’t think the fear of the cancer returning will ever leave me if i am honest, but i am hoping that when this is over, i will be able to move on and enjoy life to the full…

I wish all of you continued strength and courage, i think we are all incredibly brave ladies on here!

naz x

Hi…I know this link has been posted on the forums many times but thought of it again whilst reading through these replies. cancercounselling.org.uk/northsouth/extra4.nsf/WebResHarvey?OpenView&ExpandAll&Count=500


I too am very afraid. Just finished herceptin - dx Feb 08. Now very afraid of how my body will cope without herceptin. Was Herceptin keeping it away? Bahon’s comments are useful. I too, in my rational moments think i have to make the most of time. If you worry all the time the cancer has won. What has been the point of all the treatment to then spend the rest of whatever life i have have worrying about something. But i know it is so hard. Last night woke up at 4.00 afraid. Couldnt get back to sleep. Took sleeping tablet and then fell asleep.

hi ladies,

firstly i would like to say how overwelmed i am with all the comment and thank you.
Dont get me wrong i do try and live life “normally”… I have no choice i have to for my girls aged 3,6 & 9.
I do appreciate what i’ve got to what i havent. i try no to worry but sometimes i cant help it, o i look at my kids and see the innocence and how to some extent watchingthem grow up has been robbed from me. i tell my 9 yr old i cant wait until shes 29 and she cant understand why. For me its being able to see them independently look after themselves.

its obvious most of us continue to live in fear some more than others. I do set myself goals & do more now than ever before

I still cant help thinking about cancer returning, however much i try not to. I never asked for this sh8t disease and i hate how its messing with my head. i look at people who havent been effected by cancer and when they moan about illnesses of low risk to health it makes me angry.

i do go to healing once a month which does help but finding time with a joung family is hard.
thanks for listening

Hi Sukes, You are right it is hard when you have young children and are dealing with the fears of BC. I lost a friend who had BC and had 4 girls all under the age of 9. I was diagnosed the following year and my girls were 7 and 14years old. I did worry about not being around for them. But they are now 27 and 34. I hope you have just as long a time with them as I have had…and more. Much love Val XX

Good to hear the healing helps…Take Care Sukes…xxx

Hi Sukes
‘talking’ on here is a good way of expressing your fears - not easy to do in the middle of bringing young children up is it?
remember, none of us have found it easy and there are no ‘thought police’ telling you you should be one way or another - I think we all have bits to add which may or may not be useful to you, and you can pick out the bits that make sense to you. Please don’t think there is a way you ‘should’ be, because I honestly don’t think any of us get it all right or all wrong - we just do what we can.
It is a bl**dy horrible illness and we none of us deserve it.
I too hope that you see your children grow up into strong and positive adults
best wishes, monica xxx

Hi All

I think we all have to find a way of coping with the fear of recurrence. It’s always there but how do we cope with it?

I think Daisyleaf/Monica ‘hit the nail on the head’. Yes we all worry but try to put it in a box at the back of your mind and get on with living NOW.

I was dx nearly 18 months ago, had the ‘full monty’ including chemo and, yes I still worry sometimes about recurrence but decided that if it does come back I’m not wasting the intervening time and will get on and enjoy life. Re-assessed my priorities and given up work and am spending time travelling. Don’t want to have a recurrence in a couple of years and wished that I’d done…

Enjoy the life you’ve got. It may be different but still enjoyable.

That’s my motto.

Mal x

Interesting thread… I feel much the same, and moreso with my check-up and mammogram drawing close (on the 10th). I’ve found that in the past 3 or 4 months I’ve worried more than in the past couple of years - I finished treatment in Jan '08. I had a bone scan a couple of months ago, because of an ongoing sore lower back/leg, but thankfully all clear…but my mind is never free of thinking about bc.

Mal, I can relate to your attitude about living for the now. Good on you for stopping working and going travelling. I’m planning a career break next year - not going to give up work forever, but feel I need some time out for me. I worked throughout my treatment, chemo and all, and with hindsight wish I’d taken more time out, but it was the right decision at the time. I don’t want to put off doing the things I’ve talked about for so long… having said that, I do feel that I’m delaying making definite plans and think it’s because I still have that “What if…” hanging over me.

Roll on 2010 :slight_smile:

Ali x

Hi there, i was dx in april this year, had mx, chemo and about to start rads and tamax next week. I just wanted to say to you all this is a very insperational thread. As you will understand i too spend a lot of time worrying about ‘it’ coming back, how long i have etc. Reading your posts has made me realise there are ways of dealing with this, maybe i could use some of your strategies in the future (when i am ready) to put the worries away and get on with enjoying my life whatever the future may hold. This is one thread i will save and keep coming back to and hopefully in the future i might be able to add something to it to help others.
Take care all of you, luv Pauline x

Dear All, Been thinking about all the comments on this thread, and anxiety seems to be one of the major problems of BC.People I talk to who have had BC 13 AND 15 years ago, had told me that as the years go by, the anxiety does start to lessen. I suppose it’s trying to regain faith in one’s body and trust in it again. Whether one can or not is another thing!! Anxiety and worrying is not good for stress levels that in turn lower the immune system, so the more we can do to lessen the anxiety and worry the better. All easier said than done though!!
but I find if I put some of the anxiety into cooking a healthy meal, it helps!!
Best wishes to all

I would agree that the anxiety lessens as time goes on. I was at the hospital for a mammogram this morning and I found I approached it more as just a routine check up this time round. What helped as well was that the hospital now have new equipment and it doesn’t squash you as much so not so much discomfort around my scar area. It also had a “mood lighting” back panel which was very relaxing to look at as it changed colour. I was so fascinated by the light sequence that I wasn’t thinking about the mammo! Another good thing was the radiographer was able to be looking at the pics on the computer screen, so there was no hanging around like when they had plates. They always seemed to have to come back after checking them so they could do one more.

I was first diagnosed 24 years ago aged 38, after the relevant treatment I can honestly say I didn’t give it much thought. 4 years ago after a particularly stressful year it came back and I needed a mastectomy and I had immediate LD reconstruction. Although it was harder that time somehow I managed not to worry too much. I have just had a further recurrence and just finished rads and am taking fermara.

I don’t think I will ever feel free of it now I will just have to live with it as best I can.

My doctor did say that when we are stressed our immune system doesn’t work so well, I really think stress plays a part, I’ve always thought that but that’s me.


Hi Jan, I am sorry you had to have a mastectomy after such a long time after first diagnosis. I just want to wish you all the best and happy to know there is someone out there who has been dealing with this disease even longer than myself. I had my first diagnosis 20, nearly 21 years ag when I was 39. I am ending my latest chemo next week but am keeping pretty well really. You have made my day by reading your post so thank you for that. Take care, love VAL xx