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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2010 Mar;73(3):228-35. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2009.03.011. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

The spiritual dimension of cancer care.

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1
Department of Medicine, Medical Oncology Division, New York University Medical School, New York, NY 10016, USA.

Abstract

Spirituality is more about constant questioning than about providing fixed or final answers. Cancer patients do not expect spiritual solutions from oncology team members, but they wish to feel comfortable enough to raise spiritual issues and not be met with fear, judgmental attitudes, or dismissive comments. Spiritual needs may not be explicit in all illness phases, yet spirituality is not only confined to the areas of palliative or end-of-life care. Sensitive and effective methods to assess and address spiritual needs of cancer patients are being developed and qualitative research on the topic is underway. In addition, formal education and training in communication about cancer patients' spiritual issues and in how to assess and address them in the clinical context is being increasingly provided. Spirituality can be a major resource for both patients and physicians, yet it can never be imposed but only shared. Those oncology professionals who are familiar with their own spirituality will be better at recognizing, understanding and attending to their patients' spiritual needs and concerns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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