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Every person has a set of personal beliefs and ideas. These may include beliefs about spirituality and religion. Many affected by cancer find that the cancer journey deepens their beliefs. It can even change the way they think about life.
Having a belief system can offer a sense of comfort, purpose and connection to others. This is especially true during challenging times. Beliefs may affect the healing process and improve quality of life.
For some, sharing thoughts and feelings can make adjusting to cancer easier. It might also lessen anxiety. The result can be an increased sense of well-being and personal growth.
Your Personal Beliefs and Your Treatment Plan
Let your health care team know if you want them to consider certain spiritual, religious or personal beliefs when developing your treatment plan. Some health care providers may wait for you to bring up this topic. Others might ask you questions about your personal preferences. For example, when you start working with them, they might ask if you follow a specific faith. Providers may also ask about other matters such as your diet or willingness to receive blood products if needed.
If you have specific requests, ask your health care providers to include them in your treatment plan. However, each member of your health care team will have their own beliefs. Some may want to avoid certain practices.
Talk openly with your team if you are concerned that something could interfere with your treatment plan. Work with them to find the best way to deal with your concerns.
Take Time to Consider
- Your beliefs about the purpose of life and connection to others.
- Your spiritual or religious beliefs.
- The importance of certain practices such as prayer and meditation.
- Your thoughts about faith and loss of faith.
- Your beliefs about life after death.
Dealing With Doubt
Living with cancer can cause some individuals to question beliefs. This can result in confusion and feelings of doubt. These may add stress and make it harder to deal with the experience of cancer. If you encounter this type of conflict, try talking about your feelings with a loved one, friend, social worker or other counselor.
Some people find spiritual or religious support by sharing their feelings with a spiritual counselor or clergyperson. Hospital chaplains are also there to help.
It is normal to question old belief systems during challenging times. Many people have this experience. Yet, the process may lead to deeper understanding and greater peace of mind.