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Cancer recurrence fears ‘overlooked’

The anxiety of cancer returning is often overlooked by both patients and medics, according to leading experts in the disease. 

Health experts from around the world will gather in Scotland this week to examine cancer patients – fears of recurrence following treatment, and outline new methods to contain unrealistic fears.

Organised by cancer specialists at the University of St Andrews, the international group will come together to improve supplementary psychological care during the recovery process.

The experts hope to gain new understanding into the ways in which patients attempt to cope with the possibility of a recurrence and the psychological effects of this uncertainty.

Organiser Gerry Humphris, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of St Andrews, said, “The psychological after-effects of a cancer diagnosis and the burden of life saving medical treatments has received close attention by social scientists and medical teams alike; however the anxiety of the cancer returning is one that is often over looked in the clinics as both patients and clinicians concentrate on irradiating the disease.”

The theme of the colloquium, which will bring together leading researchers from Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand, is ‘ Fear of Recurrence’.

Professor Humphris continued, “Recently, international experts have agreed that the study of this neglected psychological construct is paramount to understanding patients’ longer term recovery and mental well being.

“The study of fears of recurrence is long overdue as many patients have volunteered their concerns over the years.  It is hoped that this colloquium will enable a strong focus to be applied to defining, assessing, describing associated clinical phenomena and outlining new methods to contain unrealistic fears.”

The sixth International Cancer Colloquium is made possible by the support of the Yelsel Trust and takes place at The Gateway, University of St Andrews, from February 25th to 27th, 2009.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

PROFESSOR HUMPHRIS IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW TODAY ON 01334 463565 or 07768 301 839.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref:  cancer recurrence 240209
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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