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Spirituality in childhood cancer care

Abstract

In order to deal with the suffering caused by childhood cancer, patients and their families use different coping strategies, among which spirituality appears as a way of minimizing possible damages. In this context, the purpose of the present study was to analyze the influence of spirituality in childhood cancer care, involving bio-psycho-social aspects of the child, the family and the healthcare team facing the disease. To accomplish this purpose, a non-systematic review of literature of articles on national and international electronic databases (SciELO, PUBMED, 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 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. Healthcare workers have been increasingly attentive to that 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 their family. Further up-to-date studies facing the subject are, thus, needed. It is also necessary to better train healthcare practitioners, so as to provide a humanized care to the child with cancer.Keywords: Spirituality. Child. Child Psychology. Neoplasms. Cancer. (AU)

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