June 2024

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Health Capsule

Spirituality in Cancer Care and Serious Illness

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Spirituality and religion can help many patients and families cope with difficult diseases like cancer. Spirituality is related to the way you look at the world and how you make sense of your place in it. It can include faith, religion, beliefs, values, and reasons for being.

The links between spirituality, religion, and health are not well understood. Yet, it often influences important decisions, including end-of-life care. Some research suggests that spiritual and religious practices can support a positive attitude. That can help patients and caregivers feel better. Spiritual or religious well-being may also reduce anger and discomfort. It can decrease alcohol and drug abuse. And it may reduce blood pressure and heart disease risk. Spiritual well-being may also boost inner peace and freedom from regret.

It helps the medical team if patients or family bring up any spiritual issues that are on their mind. Many hospitals have someone who can give support to people of different faiths, as well as those who aren’t religious at all. You could also ask your health care team about local experts or organizations that help patients with serious illness and survivors.

Learn more about spirituality in cancer care and serious illness.

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