Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Dec 20, 2018

Spirituality and Prayers to Improve Quality of Life

“You have breast cancer,” – the shock of those words never leaves you. “Will I die?” or “Can I return to normal?” is most probably the first reaction of a devastated woman just diagnosed with breast cancer. Fear, anxiety, stress, anger, depression – these are some of the emotions you or someone you know closely must have felt on being diagnosed with breast cancer. Dealing with breast cancer and its treatment can be physically and emotionally draining. This psychosocial morbidity can last up to a year after diagnosis for some women. Breast cancer can literally change your life but you can improve the quality of your life by making healthier choices to feel as well as possible.

Spirituality and prayers has been found to be important for both physical as well as functional well-being. The feeling of having a positive relationship with God or the Higher Power is said to give you a sense of self-acceptance, hope and an emotional comfort of belonging as well as courage to deal with breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer feel that spirituality can provide inner security and help discover your true self and rid you from the fear and negative feelings. It can help you connect with yourself and come to terms with your illness.

Many studies have indicated that spirituality buffers the anxiety and depression associated with negative life events such as breast cancer. Religious involvement and spirituality improve health-related quality of life and enhance recovery from illness.

In a study on the role of religion and spirituality in coping with breast cancer in Chilean women, the researchers concluded – “Women viewed religion and spirituality as primary resources for themselves and others to use in coping with breast cancer. Women's use of religion and spirituality was manifested in praying, in their perceived dependence on God to intercede and guide them through their illness, and in obtaining social support from other persons in their faith community. Half of the women reported that their cancer prompted an increased emphasis on religion and spirituality in their lives by deepening their faith in God. Almost all participants endorsed the belief that spiritual faith can help cancer patients to recuperate.”

References:

  1. Travis et al. Gene-environment interactions in 7610 women with breast cancer: prospective evidence from the Million Women Study. The Lancet, Volume 375, Issue 9732, Pages 2143-2151.
  2. Beral V, et al. Breast cancer and hormone-replacement therapy in the Million Women Study. Lancet. 2003 Aug 9;362(9382):419-27.
  3. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet. 2002 Jul 20;360(9328):187-95.
  4. Hamajima N, et al. Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer--collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women without the disease. Br J Cancer. 2002 Nov 18;87(11):1234-45.
  5. Harvie M, Hooper L, Howell AH. Central obesity and breast cancer risk: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2003 Aug;4(3):157-73.
  6. Kruk J. Lifetime physical activity and the risk of breast cancer: a case-control study. Cancer Detect Prev. 2007;31(1):18-28. Epub 2007 Feb 12.
  7. Harvie M, et al.Association of gain and loss of weight before and after menopause with risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in the Iowa women''s health study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Mar;14(3):656-61.
  8. Mueller PS, Plevak DJ, Rummans TA. Religious involvement, spirituality, and medicine: implications for clinical practice. Mayo Clin Proc. 2001 Dec;76(12):1225-35.
  9. Choumanova, I., Wanat, S., Barrett, R. and Koopman, C. (2006), Religion and Spirituality in Coping with Breast Cancer: Perspectives of Chilean Women. The Breast Journal, 12: 349–352.
  10. Winzelberg, A. J., Classen, C., Alpers, G. W., Roberts, H., Koopman, C., Adams, R. E., Ernst, H., Dev, P. and Taylor, C. B. (2003), Evaluation of an internet support group for women with primary breast cancer. Cancer, 97: 1164–1173.
  11. Spiegel, D., Bloom, J.R., and Yalom, I. (1981). Group support for patients with metastatic cancer. A randomized outcome study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 38(5): 527-33.
  12. Helgeson VS, Cohen S, Schulz R, Yasko J. Group support interventions for women with breast cancer: who benefits from what? Health Psychol. 2000 Mar;19(2):107-14.]
  13. Chlebowski RT, et al. Dietary fat reduction and breast cancer outcome: interim efficacy results from the Women''s Intervention Nutrition Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2006, 98:1767-1776.
  14. Antoni MH, Lehman JM, Kilbourn KM, Boyers AE, Culver JL, Alferi SM, Yount SE, McGregor BA, Arena PL, Harris SD, Price AA, Carver CS. Cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention decreases the prevalence of depression and enhances benefit finding among women under treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Health Psychol. 2001 Jan;20(1):20-32.
  15. Cruess DG, Antoni MH, McGregor BA, Kilbourn KM, Boyers AE, Alferi SM, Carver CS, Kumar M. Cognitive-behavioral stress management reduces serum cortisol by enhancing benefit finding among women being treated for early stage breast cancer. Psychosom Med. 2000 May-Jun;62(3):304-8.
  16. Granath J, Ingvarsson S, von Thiele U, Lundberg U. Stress management: a randomized study of cognitive behavioural therapy and yoga. Cogn Behav Ther. 2006;35(1):3-10.
  17. Nidich SI, Fields JZ, Rainforth MV, Pomerantz R, Cella D, Kristeller J, Salerno JW, Schneider RH. A randomized controlled trial of the effects of transcendental meditation on quality of life in older breast cancer patients. Integr Cancer Ther. 2009 Sep;8(3):228-34.
  18. Mustian KM, Palesh OG, Flecksteiner SA. Tai Chi Chuan for breast cancer survivors. Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:209-17.
  19. Hanser SB, Bauer-Wu S, Kubicek L, Healey M, Manola J, Hernandez M, Bunnell C. Effects of a music therapy intervention on quality of life and distress in women with metastatic breast cancer. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2006 Summer;4(3):116-24.
  20. What Causes Cancer? - (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/OverviewGuide/breast-cancer-overview-what-causes)
  21. Evaluation of the current knowledge limitations in breast cancer research: a gap analysis - (http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/10/2/R26#B108)
  22. Limit alcohol consumption - (http://www.wcrf-uk.org/preventing_cancer/recommendations/alcohol_and_cancer.php)
  23. Science Translational Medicine: Iron Regulation Linked to Breast Cancer Survival Rate - (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/0805sp_cancer.shtml)
  24. Nutrition for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors - (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/avon_foundation_breast_center/treatments_services/nutrition.html)

Comments

ennairam_23 Friday, February 11, 2011

Breast cancer can be earlier detected with mammograms. That's why it is really important to have yourself checked when you are already in your 40s or if you have a high risk for cancer [family history].

ricky121 Wednesday, February 16, 2011

is cancer a hereditary disease ?? yes mainly mid 40 age women are prone to get breast cancer.. document management

Most Popular on Medindia