Psychological intervention to alleviate heightened fears of recurrence of cancer patients

Research Policy Office
Friday 20 February 2015

Fear of recurrence is a major concern for many cancer patients, as highlighted in a major review by Professor Gerald Humphris and Dr Gozde Ozakinci of the School of Medicine. The Adjustment of Fear, Threat or Expectation of a Recurrence (AFTER), developed for general cancer patients, includes an innovative validated Fear of Recurrence (FoR) measure. The measure identifies patients with high fear of recurrence in NHS oncology services to enable psychological therapeutic treatments to be targeted, thus improving the quality of patient care. AFTER is being widely and successfully employed with cancer survivors in UK cancer services and international oncology centres to reduce their FoR and depression. Additional funding is ensuring further implementation of the AFTER intervention into cancer services through training workshops and staff supervision to build a targeted service for NHS patients. A clinical service of the AFTER intervention is provided in the NHS Lothian Edinburgh Cancer Centre for out-patients, and training workshops on the intervention are currently being conducted to enable health professionals in England in their use. Other European and International Cancer Centres are also adopting AFTER for use in the EU and North America.

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