A recent major study, encompassing data from many other research papers and surveys, says that doctors agree spirituality is good for cancer patients. Just beware, some patients are likely to be fanatical – either for or against religion. This has the exact opposite effect.
The research was conducted from a series of other published studies that looked at patients’ accounts of their conditions and the links that existed between these patients and spirituality and religion. Apparently, better health is a direct effect of spirituality in cancer patients (i.e. having faith in a benevolent supreme being governing over your life).
The number of patients totaled 44 thousand and included patients who reported themselves as religious and highly spiritual. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, overall, more or less the same patients also reported that they felt better, had less potent symptoms, and were able to better withstand the damaging side-effects of chemotherapy.
Furthermore, the religious ones also were found to have less instances of depression and anxiety during their fight with their type of cancer.
Adversely, this new research also shows that those discontent with religion, with a high disapproval towards it, fanatics, and also those that are fanatic endorsers of one religion had completely opposite views on their health. They thought they were getting worse, that their condition was deteriorating, that their symptoms are unbearable, and treatment usually made them depressive.
However, the researchers say that these results should not be taken so easily, and that many people who are not religious and spiritual have no problems dealing with their disease.
The fact that the studies rely heavily on the reports of patients upon their own conditions reduces the scientific value of the results, but still shows that spirituality can be a good helping hand in the fight against cancer. John Salsman, one of the researchers, mentioned that many of the patients who were religious intentionally reported less severe symptoms than they were actually having.
However scientifically inaccurate, these observation do not disprove the idea that patients are overall feeling better. Salsman poses an interesting question pertaining from this: should doctors be able to offer, or employ someone who can, offer spiritual guidance to the cancer patients in their hospitals?
One other observation in the study maintained that there was no statistically relevant difference between people of different faiths or religions, and that religiousness overall improves the morals of many of those who practice it, leading to a more optimistic view on life, and a more cautious behavior that includes no drinking, smoking, or other potentially harmful habits.
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