top of page
  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Spirituality and Breast Cancer



Spirituality and Breast Cancer

Thankfully, scientists have made many advances in breast cancer treatments. However, receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can still be devastating and terrifying. The immediate focus is on your medical treatment plan, but it usually doesn’t include any aspects addressing your mind, spirit, and soul. Integrating spirituality into your treatment plan can offer many benefits during your treatment.

Defining Spirituality

The word ​​spirituality is derived from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath. It’s the relationship you have with a force or power beyond yourself. That force could be God, or a life force or essence surrounding us all. Others might draw spiritual inspiration from philosophy or the arts.


Spirituality differs from religion. It is the expression or experience of the sacred, the individual search for meaning, or a power greater than one’s existence. Religion is based on an organized system or group of practices and beliefs. Some people belong to a religious institution, while others can be spiritual but not religious.


Religion and spirituality are similar in that they both have values and practices that help guide you through life. The main difference between spirituality and religion is that religion is a faith or belief system held by a community. Thus, religion is experienced as part of a group, whereas spirituality is more personal. Some people express their spirituality through religion.

Cultural traditions, religious beliefs, and upbringing can impact spirituality. For example, some people may find comfort in childhood traditions while others may search for new ones.

The Benefits of Spirituality

How spirituality and health are related is not fully understood; however, research suggests that spirituality can help patients develop and maintain a positive attitude that helps them feel better and improves their well-being.

  • Physical Well-Being

Recent studies have shown that cancer patients who reported integrating spirituality and religion into their lives also reported better physical health and fewer physical symptoms of cancer.

  • Mental Health

Other studies reported that cancer patients with emotional aspects of religion and spirituality exhibited positive mental health. In other words, these patients had less anxiety, depression, or distress. Positive thinking can have a tremendous impact on everything from preventing illness to your healing capacity.

How Spirituality Can Help You During Treatment

Spirituality can be a significant resource for patients to help them cope with fear and anxiety during the various stages of the cancer journey. Those spiritual moments when you feel connected to a deeper meaning or reality, such as when you feel close to nature, speak with a loved one, or sense a greater power, can be extremely powerful and healing.


A breast cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling many emotions. You may be scared, anxious, hopeless, lonely, and angry. It may force you to contemplate your mortality, which can be heavy at any age. It’s not unusual for your mind to be swimming with questions. You wonder what the outcome will be and why this is happening to you.


Some people may find their beliefs and hopes for the future challenged. Others may feel anger toward God or a higher power and experience a loss of faith. Finally, those without a strong support system might feel alone.


For some people, this is where the benefit of spirituality can make a difference. Research has shown that spirituality can offer many benefits to patients from diagnosis to survivorship. Spirituality can help you cope and decrease fear, anger, anxiety, and depression. It can also increase feelings of hope, optimism, and peace.


Integrating spirituality into traditional and complementary treatment has also been shown to improve feelings of well-being and empowerment, which can benefit your treatment.

 


 

Integrating Spirituality Into Your Treatment Plan

There are multiple ways to incorporate spiritual practices or rituals to help you cope with breast cancer. Spiritual exercises can be as simple as concentrating on gratitude or keeping a gratitude journal, listening to music, practicing mindfulness, or prayer. You can also find spirituality through guided imagery, yoga, pilates, or Tai Chi classes. Another option may be working with a Reiki energy healer.

Tips for Strengthening Your Spirit

There are many ways to focus on your spirituality, such as:

  • Meditate or pray regularly. Meditating or praying can help you remain calm and hopeful during challenging times.

  • Reflect quietly in nature: Take in the natural beauty around you, breathe and reflect on your inner peace. Seeing untouched nature can fill you with a sense of wonderment and harmony.

  • Read spiritual writings. Sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita provide information about ancient wisdom traditions. Reading these materials may help you feel a sense of connection with more divine reality.

  • Reach out to others for help. Speaking to someone about your feelings, fears, thoughts, and concerns can help you feel a sense of peace. You may consider speaking with a counselor, clergy or joining a support group.

  • Visit spiritual places and works of art. Visiting spiritual sites, places of historical significance, and places with art and sculpture may help you appreciate beauty.

  • Ask someone else to pray for you. Having someone who cares deeply about your well-being can help eliminate your feeling of loneliness.

  • Repeat a passage from a vital spiritual or religious text. The act of repeating important text as if it were a mantra, using the language of your religion in your prayers, can have a calming effect.

Count on Surviving Breast Cancer

In addition to keeping you up-to-date on the most recent medical information, we offer multiple programs, including a few designed to help connect you with your spirituality. For example, Movement Mondays offer free, online classes including yoga, pilates, meditation, etc. Also, Healing Through The Arts is a free, online program to generate your creative side as a way to connect with your spirituality.

You are always welcome to become part of our empowering community, including our Breast Cancer Survivor & Friends Meet and Greets. We’re always here for you!




Recent Posts

See All

The Now

Comments


Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 

RSVP

Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

 

Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

 

Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP​

Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET

RSVP

Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month

RSVP

Restorative Yoga:

The secret Garden

April 22,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Qi Gong

April 23,  11:30 a.m. ET

RSVP

Art Therapy

May 6, 6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Forest Bathing

May 7,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

May 13,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

May 14, 11:30 a.m. ET

RSVP

Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

May 14,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Más eventos en español

RSVP

Upcoming Events

1

Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 

2

Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 

3

The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 

4

Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 

5

Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 

6

Después de un Diagnóstico