The Good Life, Zoomer Report

Religion and Cancer Treatment

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It’s a testament to the power of faith. A new analysis of studies on 44,000 cancer patients found those who were more religious or spiritual experienced fewer physical symptoms and more social connection.

The studies varied in many ways, but religion and spirituality were associated with better health regardless of the specific religion or set of spiritual beliefs.

A sense of connection to a being larger than oneself was associated with better physical function and fewer, or less severe, symptoms of cancer or treatment.

However, actual practice of religion, like church attendance, prayer, or meditation, was not related to physical health.

The researchers speculate that religious people may engage in more healthy behaviors, like avoiding alcohol and drugs, and religious communities may provide more social support. In addition, spirituality may enhance positive emotions like love, forgiveness, and comfort which can reduce stress.

On the other hand,the researchers say patients who experience spiritual distress have greater depression and decreased adherence to medical recommendations.

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