Fear of Recurrence – Information for Lymphoma Patients and Management Techniques
Session Date and Time:
Tuesday October 26, 2021
at 4:00 – 5:00 pm EST
When lymphoma comes back after a period of time it is called a recurrence or relapse. Depending on the type of lymphoma, recurrence may never happen or can happen weeks, months, or even many years after the original lymphoma was treated. If recurrent lymphoma is detected or suspected, much like when you were first diagnosed, your doctor will order a set of new tests which may include blood tests, imaging studies, and biopsies to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After testing is completed, you and your doctor will discuss whether treatment is needed and what options are available to you.
According to the Lymphoma Canada patient report card in 2020, fear of recurrence was the top psychological impact to patients throughout their lymphoma journey. This fear can manifest through ruminating and thinking about the cancer returning, examining themselves for physical signs of cancer recurrence such as swollen lymph nodes, and having real thoughts about dying.
The fear of recurrence may begin during treatment and last well into remission. Fear of recurrences might include the fear of having to repeat treatment, losing control of your life, or facing death. Your fears are normal. While you cannot control whether your lymphoma recurs, you can control how much you let the fear of recurrence impact your life. Once you have collected all the medical facts you can begin to formulate your own method of coping. There are numerous coping mechanisms that patients may use to help manage their fear of recurrence.
This presentation will discuss how the fear of recurrence can impact patients throughout their lymphoma journey and will provide recommendations for coping mechanisms and management techniques that patients, and caregivers or partners, can employ.
Dr. Sophie Lebel, Ph.D, C.Psych
Associate Professor, University of Ottawa
Professor Sophie Lebel is a clinical psychologist with a focus on cancer survivorship and psychosocial interventions. She has contributed to the definition and measurement of fear of cancer recurrence and clinical recurrence, validated a blended model of fear of cancer recurrence, and co-developed a cognitive existential group intervention for survivors that has been tested through clinical trials. She is the director of the Interdisciplinary Psychosocial Oncology Research Group and Laboratory, an initiative that brings together researchers, health care providers, community partners, and trainees with an interest in helping cancer patients and their loved ones in the Greater Ottawa region. Clinically, Dr. Lebel helps cancer patients and their caregivers with adjustment difficulties throughout the disease trajectory.