The meaning of religious beliefs for a group of cancer patients during rehabilitation

The objective of this exploratory study was to identify how religion influences the survival of a group of cancer patients. The study consisted of an ethnographic case with the participation of six laryngectomized male and female patients between 51 and 72 years old, who had been operated on two to five years earlier. Data were collected by semistructured interviews and analyzed on the basis of the concepts of culture and religion. The results were synthesized into three descriptive categories: the moral representation of cancer, religious beliefs about the cancer trajectory, and negotiation with religion for survival. These categories give rise to the meaning "the hope for a second chance", which emphasizes the importance of religion as part of the support networks that articulate with the patient's coping with the stigma of cancer, with the hope for cure, and with the ways of organizing everyday life, during survival.

neoplasms; medical oncology; religion; culture; survival; rehabilitation

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