Patient Perceptions About the Role of Religion and Spirituality During Cancer Care

  • Katiuscha Merath
  • Elizabeth Palmer Kelly
  • J. Madison Hyer
  • Rittal Mehta
  • Julia L. Agne
  • Katherine Deans
  • Beth A. Fischer
  • Timothy M. PawlikEmail author
Original Paper


We sought to assess the perspectives of cancer patients relative to their spiritual well-being, as well as examine the impact of religion/spirituality during cancer care. A mixed-methods concurrent embedded online survey design was used. While 86% of participants indicated a religious/spiritual belief, respondents also reported lower overall spiritual well-being than population norms (t(73) = − 5.30, p < 0.01). Open-ended responses revealed that 22% of participants desired the healthcare team to address the topic of religion/spirituality, but the majority preferred to discuss with a family member or friend (48%). Religion/spirituality might play a central role for a subset of patients across the cancer journey.


Spirituality Religion Cancer Patient-centered care 



None to disclose

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineThe Ohio State University Wexner Medical CenterColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric SurgeryNationwide Children’s HospitalColumbusUSA
  5. 5.Center for Surgical Outcomes ResearchNationwide Children’s HospitalColumbusUSA

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