Spirituality Component in Healthcare Article

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 3
Words: 871
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


The importance of spirituality for women facing breast cancer diagnosis: A qualitative study was conducted by Leão et al. in 2021. It was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study recognizes breast cancer as a major health concern affecting women and identifies spirituality as one of the healthcare and well-being dimensions that help these women cope. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to explore the spiritual experience and consider women diagnosed specifically with breast cancer and voice their values and vision (Leão et al., 2021). The study aims to identify and analyze patterns of similar experiences and opinions among the participants.

The Study Sample

As mentioned above, the study is focused on women diagnosed with breast cancer. It was conducted in the outpatient mastology sector of a Brazilian university hospital in the state of Rio de Janeiro (Leão et al., 2021). The participants were women over 18 years old who had been diagnosed and agreed to take part in the study freely but had not started any treatment yet (Leão et al., 2021). The study excluded patients with neoplasms, metastasis, more than a year of a confirmed diagnosis, or some other pathology that obstructed verbal communication (Leão et al., 2021). The women were not denied participation on the basis of their culture, religion, socio-economical background, or political alignments (Leão et al., 2021). They were recruited after the researchers’ confirmation of breast cancer diagnosis following a medical consultation (Leão et al., 2021). The participants were observed during diagnosis, clinical sessions, follow-up nursing consultations, and pre-and post-operative periods.

The Spirituality Component

The spirituality of the patients studied refers to a set of emotions and non-material convictions. It connects people with the environment or the sacred and grants them a feeling of wholeness and understanding of themselves (Leão et al., 2021). The researchers state that spirituality promotes healing by incorporating values, attitudes, and perspectives of life, as well as leads to a realization of purpose and meaning of life (Leão et al., 2021). In their experience of conducting the interviews, the women confronted with breast cancer were observed exploring existential questions and searching for life’s meaning and transcendence (Leão et al., 2021). Although spirituality has many positive sides as a coping mechanism when dealing with cancer, the authors recognize that negative spiritual coping also exists. Additionally, despite much research and advancement made in incorporating spirituality and ethical acceptance and understanding in the medical field in past decades, there are challenges to providing qualified and integral care (Leão et al., 2021). Therefore, treatment should focus on the person rather than just the health concern.

The Overview of Findings

The study identified several major common themes occurring in the experience of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Firstly, religious and spiritual beliefs were predominant among them, meaning that the disease prompted them to search for otherworldly hopes and well-being (Leão et al., 2021). Several women tried to give meaning to the diagnosis and form new perspectives in light of the possibility of the finitude of life (Leão et al., 2021). Secondly, most women signified the importance of family and friendship relationships, which gave them fortitude or a goal to achieve (Leão et al., 2021). Lastly, some of the participants viewed spirituality as a way of distracting themselves from reality (Leão et al., 2021). In their attempts to control and normalize their lives despite the ongoing struggle, they found religion a great coping mechanism that gave them hope resiliently (Leão et al., 2021). Overall, the study proved the need to implement spirituality in healthcare, especially with breast cancer, and allow patients to rely on cultural and religious beliefs to overcome stress and anxiety. Medical professionals should be more attentive and communicative with their patients to offer the best support and facilitate healing.

The Overview of Study Limitations

The researchers offer a few limitations that should be considered when examining the findings. Firstly, the selection strategy might have allowed for some non-representation in the study. The researchers could not reflect on women’s experiences without religious beliefs, as it was the most difficult diversity representation element to achieve (Leão et al., 2021). Secondly, the interviews were gathered only in one institution (Leão et al., 2021). Despite the general diversity of the participants, more comparative assessments should be done to enhance the generalizability and accuracy of the study’s findings (Leão et al., 2021). Lastly, the study does not allow any demographic analysis of the participants’ answers to be made. Analyzing the distribution of views and perspectives based on age or financial income could provide a better understanding of patients’ needs.


The findings of the study suggest several significant implications for the healthcare field. First of all, the predominance and the generality of religious beliefs and common statements make a serious argument in favor of incorporating spiritual care for cancer or severely ill patients. Second of all, medical professionals should receive training that implements the present research findings, facilitating acceptance and understanding of a patient as a person rather than just a health concern. Lastly, the research suggests that future studies exploring and analyzing the healing process of cancer patients should be mindful of the significance of spiritual presence in the patient’s recovery.


Leão, D. C. M. R., Pereira, E. R., Pérez-Marfil, M. N., Silva, R. M. C. R. A., Mendonça, A. B., Rocha, R. C. N. P., & García-Caro, M. P. (2021). The importance of spirituality for women facing breast cancer diagnosis: a qualitative study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(12).