Damocles’ syndrome revisited: Update on the fear of cancer recurrence in the complex world of today’s treatments and survivorship
- PMID: 29476707
- PMCID: PMC6098978
- DOI: 10.1016/j.hemonc.2018.01.005
Free PMC article
Objective/background: Improvements in curative treatments for many types of cancer have emerged over the past several decades, resulting in a growing population of long-term cancer survivors – of both adult and childhood cancers. Despite this incredible medical achievement, long-term survivors of cancer face a unique fear: the fear of relapse.
Methods: We conducted a review of the literature for data on fear of relapse among cancer survivors.
Results: The fear of cancer recurrence is present in survivors of childhood and adult cancers as well as family members and often leads to psychological sequelae.
Conclusion: Literature on the fear of cancer recurrence has begun to emerge. However, herein we provide a unique approach through the use of a metaphor: Cicero’s story of Damocles’ sword. We aim to outline the many fear-related and emotional challenges faced by cancer survivors with an extensive review of studies demonstrating such challenges.
Keywords: Anxiety; Cancer; Fear of recurrence; Relapse; Survivorship.
Copyright © 2018 King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflicts of interest statement
There are no conflicts of interest to disclose from any authors.