Fear of cancer recurrence in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors: a systematic review of the literature

Yuan Yang, Wen Li, Yunhong Wen, Hongmei Wang, Henwen Sun, Weijiang Liang, Bin Zhang, Gerry Humphris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Objective The current systematic review aims to provide an overview of fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors (15‐39 years at cancer diagnosis, AYAs).
Methods MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase databases were independently searched to identify relevant quantitative articles. PRISMA systematic review procedures were followed with quality assessment.
Results Seventeen studies were included in the current review. All were quantitative studies that utilized a cross‐sectional study design. Seven articles reported results of FCR prevalence, six studied determinants related to FCR, and 11 articles provided information about consequences of FCR. Prevalence of FCR ranged from 31% to 85.2% among AYA survivors. Associations between sociodemographic/clinical variables and FCR were inconsistent. Psychological distress and higher treatment intensity were positively associated with higher FCR levels. Lower scores on levels of physical, psychological functioning, and overall health‐related quality of life (QoL) were identified as consequences of increased FCR.
Conclusion FCR appears to be a prevalent concern among adolescent and young adult cancer populations. Adequate assessment to determine need for support and intervention is still required. Longitudinal studies in AYAs are warranted to understand the development and potential influence of FCR. Age‐appropriate and flexible psychological care would be more successful potentially with this crucial background information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-686
Issue number4
Early online date17 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Cancer
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Oncology
  • Review
  • Survivor
  • Young adult


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