Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 731–742 | Cite as

Hope Against Hope in Cancer at the End of Life

  • Natalie A. Pattison
  • Christopher Lee
Original Paper


Hope has many facets to it in the context of cancer. This article outlines an instrumental case study for a patient with aggressive lymphoma who rapidly deteriorated to the point of dying. How her and her family’s hope was managed is outlined here from various perspectives. Interviews were carried out with the patient’s family, medical consultant-in-charge (attending physician) and nurses caring for her at the end of life. The findings outline the transition from hope for cure to hope for a good death and the role that the patient and family’s Christian hope played in this. Religiosity and spirituality of hope in terms of Christian hope is explored from the theological perspective. Practical aspects of care in the face of changing hope are discussed. Conclusions are drawn about reframing hope in a changing clinical situation with reference to theories of hope. The importance of acknowledging hope, coping, spirituality and religiosity, especially at end of life, is emphasised.


Hope Christian hope End of life Reframing hope Coping 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Critical Care Outreach Office DQ11Royal Marsden HospitalSutton, SurreyUK
  2. 2.Pastoral CentreRoyal Marsden HospitalSutton, SurreyUK

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