Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes

Prevalence and correlates of fear of recurrence among adolescent and young adult versus older adult post-treatment cancer survivors

Purpose: We sought to (1) assess prevalence of fear of recurrence among cancer survivors diagnosed as adolescent and young adults (AYA; 15–39 years) versus those diagnosed at a later age (40+ years) and (2) identify factors associated with fear of recurrence in each group. Methods: We used logistic regression to determine the correlates of fear of recurrence by age group at diagnosis among survivors responding to the 2010 LIVESTRONG survey. Results: Prevalence of fear of recurrence was significantly higher among AYA survivors (85.2 %) than those diagnosed at an older age (79.7 %). Among AYA respondents, being employed and less than 5 years off treatment were positively associated with fear of recurrence while those with thyroid cancer and those who participated in a clinical trial were less likely to experience fear of recurrence. Among older adults, receipt of surgery was associated with fear of recurrence whereas having insurance coverage through Medicare or Medicaid and positive patient-provider communication were negatively associated with fear of recurrence. Conclusions: For both AYA and older adult survivors, changeable factors such as having a more positive cancer care experience may impact fear of recurrence. Our findings highlight the need to identify and understand aspects of the communication process that can be targeted in future interventions with survivors and healthcare providers to ensure that fear of recurrence is being appropriately managed. Factors associated with fear of recurrence differ for AYA and older adult survivors; thus, interventions would likely benefit from tailoring based on age at diagnosis.