Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is prevalent amongst survivors, and breast cancer survivors are particularly vulnerable. Currently, there are few well-validated brief measures of FCR and none specific to breast cancer. This manuscript describes the development and initial validation of a new measure of FCR for breast cancer survivors, the Concerns about Recurrence Questionnaire (CARQ), and reports its initial validation in an Australian and Danish population-based sample of breast cancer survivors.
CTT analyses explored scale reliability and validity; Rasch analyses explored model fit statistics, item bias (DIF) and local dependency. Three-item, four-item and five-item versions were considered.
Two hundred eighteen Australian women aged 28-45 years diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (stages 0-2) and 2001 Danish women diagnosed with breast cancer (stages 1-3) aged 26-70 completed the CARQ. Based on the results of both CTT and IRT analyses, the four-item English version of the scale performed best. Although the CTT analyses suggested that the CARQ-4 was reliable and valid in both samples, Rasch analyses identified item bias relative to age, and local dependence which may be remedied by further scale development.
The CARQ-4 English version is currently one of the most rigorously tested brief scales of FCR available.
The availability of more valid and reliable brief measures of FCR will help to promote research and screening of FCR amongst cancer survivors.