1. In this study, several religion and spirituality (R/S) variables (e.g. spiritual well-being, religious coping, self-rated R/S, etc) displayed a positive association with the physical health of cancer patients.
2. Furthermore, this study found that occasionally, R/S was negatively associated with, or unrelated to health.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Oncological diseases continue to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. R/S has been shown in the literature to be beneficial for this patient population; however, a greater understanding of the variables within R/S mediating these relationships have not been well established. As a result, the objective of the present systematic review was to synthesize the main R/S variables affecting the physical health of cancer patients and synthesize the major results from the literature.
Of 442 identified studies, 26 were included in the study from 2015 to March 2022. Studies were included if they studied R/S variables on the physical health (self-perceived or biomarker derived) of cancer patients and survivors. Studies were excluded if they included only mental health outcomes. The study was conducted using the PRISMA 2020 methodology. Quality was assessed using the McMaster Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies.
The results demonstrated that several religion and spirituality (R/S) variables (e.g. spiritual well-being, religious coping, self-rated R/S, etc.) displayed a positive association with the physical health of cancer patients. Furthermore, R/S was found to be occasionally negatively associated with or unrelated to health. Despite these results, the study was limited by the design of most included studies being cross-sectional, which may impact inferences of causality. However, the study’s identification of R/S variables in the physical health of cancer patients allows for a greater understanding of this relationship whether positive or negative.
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