Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Fear of Cancer Recurrence in Breast Cancer

Researchers, led by So-Young Park, cited that fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) has been acknowledged as a cause of emotional distress among breast cancers survivors (BCS). They conducted a systemic review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce FCR, and reported that their observations uncovered “the importance of conducting well-designed CBT interventions to reduce FCR in BCSs with diverse populations at multiple sites, thereby improving the quality of research in this area.”

In the study, published in BMC Cancer, researchers collected a total of 17 quantitative RCTs for the literature review. According to the authors, “the interventions varied greatly in length and intensity, but the study designs and methodologies were similar.”

The study’s authors found that RCTs which applied face-to-face CBT interventions of at least one month appeared to be more effective for reducing FCR outcomes and complying with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) 2010 checklist criteria compared to RCTs using brief online or telephone forms of interventions. Despite that observation, the authors reported that “most RCT interventions appeared to be effective” for FCR reduction in participants.

Overall, the authors felt further investigation of CBT to reduce FCR among BCSs was warranted. They recommended that “future FCR-related studies should include a broader population from multiple centers to ensure generalizability and adhere to the reporting guidelines in the preparation of manuscripts.”