Article, Young cancer survivors

From Fear to Empowerment

From Fear to Empowerment
Overcoming Anxiety in Young Cancer Survivors through Therapeutic Techniques 

Navigating anxiety among YCS is a huge challenge, but effective strategies can offer empowerment. Anxiety's overwhelming impact after cancer treatment, during recovery, and medical visits is acknowledged. (1)  
Seeking Professional Assistance and Receiving Reassurance 
When anxiety becomes all-consuming, professional help is essential. Counselors guide YCS through emotional challenges, transforming their journey (2). Professionals can also offer guidance and reassurance, providing a sense of comfort (3).  
Unveiling Personal Coping Mechanisms 
Understanding that each YCS carries a unique emotional burden is crucial. There are several approaches that can provide solace and empowerment: 
  1. Embarking on Relaxation Techniques: Engaging in deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and other relaxation techniques can help alleviate anxiety. (4) 
  2. Embracing Physical Activity: Participating in physical exercises that bring joy not only contributes to overall well-being but also aids in reducing stress and anxiety. (5) 
  3. Exploring Holistic Therapies: Reflexology, massages, and other holistic therapies can offer moments of profound relaxation and emotional ease. (6) 
Leveraging the Power of Virtual Reality 
Recent research has delved into the promising field of utilizing virtual reality (VR) as a psychological intervention for YCS. The findings unveiled a notable surge in feelings of serenity, relaxation, and contentment among participants who utilized virtual reality (VR). Testimonials from participants underscored their sense of immersion and distraction within the virtual environment, effectively diverting their attention away from personal concerns. (7) 
Conquering anxiety amid young cancer survivorship transforms adversity into empowerment. These techniques foster emotional resilience, illuminating a path towards recovery and empowerment. By integrating therapeutic techniques, YCS can rewrite their narratives, transforming vulnerability into resilience. As they take charge of their emotional well-being, these strategies empower them to face uncertainty with courage and determination. Through these approaches, YCS not only overcome anxiety but also embrace a brighter future filled with strength and hope. 
Author: Sara Vivirito, CEIPES  
  1. Nguyen, M. H., Smets, E. M., Bol, N., Bronner, M. B., Tytgat, K. M., Loos, E. F., & van Weert, J. C. (2019). Fear and forget: how anxiety impacts information recall in newly diagnosed cancer patients visiting a fast-track clinic. Acta oncologica, 58(2), 182-188. 
  2. Singer, S., Janni, W., Kühn, T., Flock, F., Felberbaum, R., Schwentner, L., ... & BRENDA study group. (2023). Awareness, offer, and use of psychosocial services by breast cancer survivors in Germany: a prospective multi-centre study. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 307(3), 945-956. 
  3. Götze, H., Friedrich, M., Taubenheim, S., Dietz, A., Lordick, F., & Mehnert, A. (2020). Depression and anxiety in long-term survivors 5 and 10 years after cancer diagnosis. Supportive Care in Cancer, 28, 211-220. 
  4. Price-Blackshear, M. A., Pratscher, S. D., Oyler, D. L., Armer, J. M., Cheng, A. L., Cheng, M. X., ... & Ann Bettencourt, B. (2020). Online couples mindfulness-based intervention for young breast cancer survivors and their partners: a randomized-control trial. Journal of psychosocial oncology, 38(5), 592-611. 
  5. Ribeiro, F. E., Palma, M. R., Silva, D. T. C., Tebar, W. R., Vanderlei, L. C. M., Fregonesi, C. E. P. T., & Christofaro, D. G. D. (2020). Relationship of anxiety and depression symptoms with the different domains of physical activity in breast cancer survivors. Journal of Affective Disorders, 273, 210-214. 
  6. Wu, H., Dehghan, M., Aziz, A. R., Al-amer, R., & Zakeri, M. A. (2023). Use of complementary and alternative medicine for reducing fear of cancer recurrence among cancer survivors: Does it work?. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 100278. 
  7. Wilson, K., & Scorsone, G. (2021). The use of virtual reality technologies to reduce anxiety and improve experience in chemotherapy patients during treatment. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2, 695449. 

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.