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Concerns and psychosocial reactions to cancer recurrence were different from those occurring at the initial diagnosis

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To describe the meaning of cancer recurrence to the patient and to explore if the patient perceives the diagnosis of recurrence as being different from the initial diagnosis of cancer.


In depth interviews based on the conceptual framework of Lazarus and Folkman's model of stress, appraisal, and coping.


A large midwestern city in the USA.


20 patients > 21 years of age (mean age 54 y, range 26–72, 65% women) with a recurrence of cancer diagnosed within the previous 30 days who were having antitumour treatment. Most patients had lived for > 4 years (mean 50 months) with a diagnosis of cancer. Inclusion criteria were the ability to speak, read, and write English; life expectancy ≥ 6 months; and at home for ≥ 2 weeks after …

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