Greater involvement in religion/spirituality (R/S) in patients with cancer may be associated with better patient-reported physical health, a study published online ahead of print in Cancer has suggested.

In a meta-analysis of patient-reported physical health, researchers led by Heather Jim, PhD, at the Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa FL, looked through databases such as PubMed, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library. They examined 32,000 adult patients with cancer from 2,073 abstracts that included reported information on R/S as well as physical outcomes.

R/S measures were categorized into affective, behavioral, cognitive and “other” dimensions, while physical measures were categorized into physical well-being, functional well-being, and physical symptoms.

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They found that overall R/S was associated with overall physical health, although this relation was not adjusted for sociodemographic or clinical variables.

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Affective R/S was associated with physical well-being, functional well-being, and physical symptoms, while cognitive R/S was associated with physical and functional well-being. “Other” dimensions of R/S were associated with functional well-being.

“These results underscore the importance of attending to patients’ religious and spiritual needs as part of comprehensive cancer care,” the authors concluded.


  1. Jim HSL, Pustejovsky JE, Park CL, et al. Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis. Cancer. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29353.