Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Spirituality Diminishes Symptom Distress in Lung Cancer: Less Breathlessness, Better Appearance

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Spirituality Diminishes Symptom Distress in Lung Cancer: Less Breathlessness, Better Appearance

Article excerpt

WAIKOLOA, HAWAII -- Spirituality appears to buffer lung cancer patients from anxiety related to some of the most distressing symptoms of the disease, including breathlessness and profound changes in physical appearance, researchers from the University of Louisville (Ky.) reported at a meeting sponsored by the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Eric A. Dedert, a graduate research assistant for the University of Louisville Cancer Center, joined Sandra Sephton, Ph.D., director of the university's psychoneuroendocrine research laboratory, and associates in recruiting 29 patients with lung cancer. The goal was to explore various domains of spirituality (daily spiritual experiences, forgiveness, private religious practices, and spiritual coping), symptoms, and symptom-related distress.

The mean age of patients enrolled in the study was 66. Seventeen were women; 12 were men.

"Patients with lung cancer experience significantly more psychological distress than patients with other forms of cancer. Breathlessness can make people very anxious," said Mr. Dedert in an interview at the meeting.

Two-tailed Pearson correlations, statistical measures that reveal the strength of a relationship between two variables, determined that having private religious practices was strongly linked to a reduced level of anxiety about breathlessness. …

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