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Exploring the screening capacity of the Fear of Cancer Recurrence Inventory‐Short Form for clinical levels of fear of cancer recurrence

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Published online on


Objective Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is a common concern among cancer survivors. Identifying survivors with clinically significant FCR requires validated screening measures and clinical cut‐offs. We evaluated the Fear of Cancer Recurrence Inventory‐Short Form (FCRI‐SF) clinical cut‐off in 2 samples. Methods Level of FCR in study 1 participants (from an Australian randomized controlled trial: ConquerFear) was compared with FCRI‐SF scores. Based on a biopsychosocial interview, clinicians rated participants as having nonclinical, subclinical, or clinical FCR. Study 2 participants (from a Canadian FCRI‐English validation study) were classified as having clinical or nonclinical FCR by using the semistructured clinical interview for FCR (SIFCR). Receiver operating characteristic analyses evaluated the screening ability of the FCRI‐SF against clinician ratings (study 1) and the SIFCR (study 2). Results In study 1, 167 cancer survivors (mean age: 53 years, SD = 10.1) participated. Clinicians rated 43% as having clinical FCR. In study 2, 40 cancer survivors (mean age: 68 years, SD = 7.0) participated; 25% met criteria for clinical FCR according to the SIFCR. For both studies 1 and 2, receiver operating characteristic analyses suggested a cut‐off ≥22 on the FCRI‐SF identified cancer survivors with clinical levels of FCR with adequate sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions Establishing clinical cut‐offs on FCR screening measures is crucial to tailoring individual care and conducting rigorous research. Our results suggest using a higher cut‐off on the FCRI‐SF than previously reported to identify clinically significant FCR. Continued evaluation and validation of the FCRI‐SF cut‐off is required across diverse cancer populations.