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Most former cancer patients fear the often fatal disease could return, and many fret over the inadequate explanation they get from their doctors, a recent health ministry survey found.

The first nationwide poll of its kind covered 7,885 adults who were either outpatients at 53 medical institutions or former patients affiliated with 15 patient or support groups.

More than one-third of them quit their jobs after being diagnosed with cancer, according to a study group of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

“We hope to use the survey results to improve the patients’ quality of life by providing information to help ease their anxiety,” said Ken Yamaguchi, chief of Shizuoka Cancer Center and head of the study group.

According to the survey conducted from last April to December, 52.9 percent of the pollees said they fear a recurrence or spread of cancer, while 48.1 percent said they were physically in pain.

Most of the anxious respondents cited fears of a recurrence or spread regardless of the number of years that had passed since they were diagnosed with cancer, indicating doctors may have failed to fully inform them of the likelihood that they may fully recover if no recurrence or spread is observed for five years.

Of patients who were employed at the time of diagnosis, 4.2 percent were fired and 30.4 percent quit their jobs.

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