Researchers said that spirituality may help cancer patients. Religious and spiritual beliefs might benefit the mental and physical health of cancer patients.
The scientists carried out three reviews of published studies on the cancer topic, which included over 44,000 patients. Nevertheless, none of these studies were capable of showing a cause and effect relationship between better outcomes and spirituality, only a link between the two factors.
The first research revealed that cancer patients with increased levels of religiousness and spirituality reported an overall better physical health and fewer symptoms of treatment and cancer, and an improved ability to carry out their everyday tasks.
Heather Jim, first review lead author, from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida said that the connections were especially stronger in patients who underwent the greater emotional aspects of spirituality and religion, including a sense of purpose in life and meaning as well as a special bond to a larger source that oneself.
The second review was focused mainly on the patient’s mental health. John Salsman, second review lead author, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine said that a spiritual happiness was associated with less distress, depression and anxiety. Also, increased levels of distress in terms of spirituality and a lack of connection with God revealed a poorer emotional well-being and greater psychological distress.
The third research focused on the link between spirituality and religion and social happiness. Allen Sherman from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and third review lead author said that the moment they took a better look, they discovered that the patients who had a stronger spiritual happiness, better images of God (like a perception of benevolence, rather than a distant and angry God), or more powerful beliefs (such as the belief that a personal God could be called for assistance) showed a better social health.
Sherman said that individuals who battle with their faith seemed to fare a lot more poorly. Heather Jim said that some of the patients battle with the spiritual or religious significance of the cancer disease, which he said that is completely normal to happen. However, how they deal with this struggle may have an impact on their health. That being said, Jim also added that further research is required in order to better support and understand these patients.
The discoveries regarding how spirituality may help cancer patients were published in the Cancer journal on August 10.
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