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Spirituality in childhood cancer care

Authors Lima NN, do Nascimento VB, de Carvalho SM, Neto ML, Moreira MM, Brasil AQ, Celestino Junior FT, de Oliveira GF, Reis AO

Received 6 January 2013

Accepted for publication 23 February 2013

Published 9 October 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 1539—1544

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S42404

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Nádia Nara Rolim Lima,1 Vânia Barbosa do Nascimento,1 Sionara Melo Figueiredo de Carvalho,1 Modesto Leite Rolim Neto,2 Marcial Moreno Moreira,2 Aline Quental Brasil,2 Francisco Telésforo Celestino Junior,2 Gislene Farias de Oliveira,2 Alberto Olavo Advíncula Reis3

1Health Sciences Postgraduate Program, ABC Region Medical School, Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Department of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Barbalha, Ceará, Brazil; 3Public Health Postgraduate Program, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: To deal with the suffering caused by childhood cancer, patients and their families use different coping strategies, among which, spirituality appears a way of minimizing possible damage. In this context, the purpose of the present study was to analyze the influence of spirituality in childhood cancer care, involving biopsychosocial aspects of the child, the family, and the health care team facing the disease. To accomplish this purpose, a nonsystematic review of literature of articles on national and international electronic databases (Scientific Electronic Library Online [SciELO], PubMed, and Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature [LILACS]) was conducted using the search terms “spirituality,” “child psychology,” “child,” and “cancer,” as well as on other available resources. After the search, 20 articles met the eligibility criteria and were included in the final sample. Our review showed that the relation between spirituality and health has lately become a subject of growing interest among researchers, as a positive influence of spirituality in the people's welfare was noted. Studies that were retrieved using the mentioned search strategy in electronic databases, independently assessed by the authors according to the systematic review, showed that spirituality emerges as a driving force that helps pediatric patients and their families in coping with cancer. Health care workers have been increasingly attentive to this dimension of care. However, it is necessary to improve their knowledge regarding the subject. The search highlighted that spirituality is considered a source of comfort and hope, contributing to a better acceptance of his/her chronic condition by the child with cancer, as well as by the family. Further up-to-date studies facing the subject are, thus, needed. It is also necessary to better train health care practitioners, so as to provide humanized care to the child with cancer.

Keywords: spirituality, child, child psychology, neoplasms, cancer

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