Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Perspectives of cancer patients regarding spirituality and its role in cancer cure

Background: Spirituality is recognized as a key determinant of health. A strong correlation between health and spiritual healing is widely existent. Present study aims at investigating spiritual aspects of cancer patients and their opinions regarding spirituality and health and also to explore their views regarding spirituality as complementary and alternative (CAM) medicine for cure of cancer.  Methods: Hospital based cross sectional study conducted 1117 among cancer patients attending a tertiary health facility. Chi square test and other elementary statistical methods were applied for data analysis.  Results: Among 1117 cancer patients surveyed including 44.9% males and 55.1% females, 37.9% were of the opinion that spirituality and health are interrelated. Spiritual health was assigned Rank 1 by 21.3% respondents. There were 24.6% respondents having no spiritual distress. About 73% respondents agreed with existence of spirituality as a health component. The most common reported characteristic of spiritually healthy individuals was being in peace and calm (69.4%). Majority of respondents (97.2%) had reported faith in God. Increased faith in god after suffering from the disease was reported by 68.8% respondents. Spirituality had perceived role in recovering from disease and 61.6% respondents reported change in their outlook after suffering from this disease.  Conclusions: Findings of the present study support the relationship between spirituality and health. Need is felt for introducing spiritual health care in medical practice with holistic approach effectively addressing spiritual issues in cancer management.