Spiritual Beliefs Impact Cancer Patient Health

We already believe and know about the healing power in prayer. This most recent article shows a scientific link.

According to the article, “Research reveals that most individuals with cancer have religious and spiritual beliefs, or derive comfort from religious and spiritual experiences. But what impact does this have on patients’ health? Recent analyses of all published studies on the topic–which included more than 44,000 patients–shed new light on the associations of religion and spirituality with cancer patients’ mental, social, and physical well-being. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the analyses indicate that religion and spirituality have significant associations with patients’ health, but there was wide variability among studies regarding how different dimensions of religion and spirituality relate to different aspects of health.”

When analyzing physical health, “Patients reporting greater overall religiousness and spirituality also reported better physical health, greater ability to perform their usual daily tasks, and fewer physical symptoms of cancer and treatment.”

In focusing on mental health,  ” ‘Spiritual well- being was, unsurprisingly, associated with less anxiety, depression, or distress,’ said lead author John Salsman, PhD.”

A third area, social health and ability to retain relationships, researchers concluded, ” ‘When we took a closer look, we found that patients with stronger spiritual well-being, more benign images of God (such as perceptions of a benevolent rather than an angry or distant God), or stronger beliefs (such as convictions that a personal God can be called upon for assistance) reported better social health,’ said lead author Allen Sherman, PhD, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. ‘In contrast, those who struggled with their faith fared more poorly.’ ”

Click here to read the article.

Wiley. “How spiritual beliefs relate to cancer patients’ physical, mental, and social well-being.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150810071029.htm>.

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