Study Shows That Patients Who Believe in God ‘Cope Better’ With Cancer

Religious people cope better with cancer than those with no faith, a study suggests (file picture) (PHOTO CREDIT: Alamy)
Religious people cope better with cancer than those with no faith, a study suggests (file picture) (PHOTO CREDIT: Alamy)

Religious people cope better with cancer than those with no faith, a study suggests.

US researchers found that people with greater faith claimed to have better physical health, a greater ability to carry on doing everyday tasks and fewer physical symptoms of cancer and its treatment.

People with strong religious beliefs also have less anxiety, depression or distress, the academics believe.

In findings published in the online journal Cancer, teams from Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina found most patients with cancer had religious and spiritual beliefs, or took comfort from religious and spiritual experiences.

But what type of God a patient believed in also affected how they felt, with those believing in a benevolent Lord faring better than people who felt God was punishing them.

The first comprehensive study of its kind, which used past studies involving more than 44,000 patients, also discovered sufferers’ physical health was not tied to behaviour such as church attendance, prayer, or meditation.

Dr Heather Jim, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, said: ‘Some patients struggle with the religious or spiritual significance of their cancer, which is normal.

‘How they resolve their struggle may impact their health, but more research is needed to better understand and support these patients.’

The first part of the research focused on physical health, with the more religious feeling better overall.

Dr Jim said: ‘These relationships were particularly strong in patients who experienced greater emotional aspects of religion and spirituality, including a sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as a connection to a source larger than oneself.’

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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ollie Gillman

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