Fear of Cancer Recurrence in Patients With Localized Renal Cell Carcinoma

Bergerot CD, Battle D, Philip EJ, et al.
JCO Oncol Pract. 2020 Nov;16(11):e1264-e1271.
DOI: 10.1200/OP.20.00105.



Patients with cancer commonly report distress and fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) impacting quality of life and clinical outcomes. This study aims to test the association between emotional well-being and clinical characteristics of survivors with localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Materials and methods

Survivors with localized RCC were invited to participate in this study through social media by the Kidney Cancer Research Alliance. Participants self-reported clinical characteristics, distress (Distress Thermometer), and FCR (Fear of Cancer Recurrence-7). Ordinal regression was used to test the association between emotional well-being and patient characteristics.


A total of 412 survivors were included in this analysis. Participants were mostly female (79.4%) and well educated (58.3%), with a median age of 54 years (range, 30-80 years) and median time since diagnosis of 17.5 months. More than one half were diagnosed with stage I disease (56.1%). Most patients (62.3%) had a clear understanding of their diagnosis. A high prevalence of moderate to severe distress (67.0%) and FCR (54.9%) was reported across all survivors of RCC. Higher FCR was associated with female gender, younger age, and lack of understanding of their diagnosis (P = .001), whereas more recent diagnosis was associated with higher distress levels (P = .01).


Our findings suggest that FCR is a common problem that is persistent after therapy and that certain individuals, including female and younger patients, may be at particular risk of experiencing clinically relevant FCR.

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