Your Faith and Spirituality

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Girl Looking Up with Hope
Credit: iStock

Many people with cancer look more deeply for meaning in their lives. They want to understand their purpose in life or why they got cancer. Spirituality means the way you look at the world and how you make sense of your place in it. Spirituality can include faith or religion, beliefs, values, and "reasons for being."

What It Means to You

Being spiritual can mean different things to everyone. It's a very personal issue. Everyone has their own beliefs about it. Some people find it through religion or faith. Others may be spiritual through meditating, teaching, volunteer work, or reading. It can mean something different for each person. Some people look for a sense of peace or bond with other people. Others seek to forgive themselves or others for past actions.

I can't handle everything on my own. But it's real hard when I have my down times. And yet, most of the time, my faith gives me strength and some sense of peace.


Your Cancer May Affect Your Spirituality

Having cancer may cause you to think about what you believe, whether or not you're connected to a traditional religion. It's normal to view the experience both negatively and positively at the same time. Some people find that cancer brings more meaning to their faith. Others feel that their faith has let them down and they struggle to understand why they have cancer. For example, they might question their relationship with God.

Your Values May Change

Many people also find that cancer changes their values. They make changes to reflect what matters most to them now. The things you own and your daily duties may seem less important. You may decide to spend more time with loved ones or do something to help others. Or you may take more time to do things in the outdoors or learn about something new. For some, faith can be an important part of both coping with and recovering from cancer.

Finding Comfort and Meaning

If you want to find faith-based or spiritual support, many hospitals have chaplains who are trained to give support to people of different faiths, as well as those who aren't religious at all. You could also ask your health care team about local experts or organizations that help cancer patients and survivors.

Some ideas that have helped others find comfort and meaning are:

  • Praying or meditating
  • Reading uplifting stories about the human spirit
  • Talking with others with similar experiences
  • Taking time alone to reflect on life and relationships
  • Writing in a journal
  • Finding a special place where you find beauty or a sense of calm
  • Taking part in community or social gatherings for support and to support others
  • Posted: December 2, 2014

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