Spirituality Improves Outcomes
It has long been clear to me that patients who have faith, who carry a belief system, have a somewhat easier time with cancer and pain and burdens. It does not seem to matter what the belief is; it surely does not matter what denomination or religion someone practices. The core values (at least to me) are the same, and the comfort in feeling supported by God or something bigger than we are is clearly invaluable.
Many people return to a religion of their childhood when the are ill. The familiar traditions and prayers and music are soothing and likely stimulate old feelings of being loved by our parents. When I speak with people who have been distant from their religious tradition, but now are hoping to find a way back, I always suggest that they reach out to a priest or rabbi or imam, and they are always welcomed home.
Even if faith does not directly impact the cancer, it surely helps with quality of life.
This is a very good article about all of this:
Spirituality linked to better physical, emotional well-being in patients
A study published in Cancer suggested an association between spiritual beliefs and better self-reported
emotional and physical quality-of-life outcomes among patients with cancer.
Heather S.L. Jim, PhD, of the health outcomes and behavior program at Moffitt Cancer Center, and
colleagues analyzed data from previously published studies that examined spirituality and its association
with outcomes among more than 32,000 patients with cancer. They found that patients with higher levels
of spiritual well-being reported better emotional, physical and social health.
HemOnc Today asked Jim about the potential benefits spirituality has on outcomes for
patients with cancer, why it is important for clinicians to be aware of these benefits, and
how providers can support patients’ spiritual beliefs and needs.