Spirituality in cancer survivorship with First Nations people in Canada
- 20 Downloads
Advancements in cancer survivorship care have shown that holistic approaches, tailored to people’s unique survivorship needs, can decrease cancer burden and enhance well-being and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to explore the meanings of spirituality in cancer survivorship for First Nations people, the largest Indigenous population in Canada, and describe how spiritual practices are incorporated into healing.
This study is part of a larger arts-based project about cancer survivorship with First Nations people. Thirty-one cancer survivors discussed spirituality as part of their cancer survivorship experiences. Data were generated through sharing sessions (n = 8) and individual interviews (n = 31). Qualitative descriptive analysis was conducted.
Three themes emerged about the meaning of spirituality in cancer survivorship. Spirituality was expressed as a complex phenomenon that (1) interconnected self with traditional roots and culture, (2) merged the body and mind, and (3) gave meaning, strength, and faith in the cancer journey. First Nations people incorporated spirituality into cancer survivorship by giving thanks, attending places of spiritual connectedness, singing, praying, speaking to the Creator, and engaging the sun and moon.
First Nations cancer survivors have viewed cancer as an opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth that enabled healing. Understanding the role of spirituality in cancer survivorship is important to develop and deliver culturally safe health services that reduce the burden of cancer and ultimately improve outcomes for First Nations people in Canada.
KeywordsCancer survivorship Spirituality Indigenous health First Nations Qualitative research
This study was funded by grant no. 701822 from the Canadian Cancer Society Quality of Life Grant in memory of Edna Goebel and by grant no. ER16–12-209 from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was approved by the University of Ottawa Research Ethics Board with file number H03–13-06B. Our approaches are grounded in Chapter 9 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples of Canada.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
- 1.Health Council of Canada (2005) The health status of Canada’s first nations. In: Inuit and Métis Peoples. Toronto, OntarioGoogle Scholar
- 4.Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2013) First nations cancer control in Canada baseline report. Canadian partnership against cancer, TorontoGoogle Scholar
- 6.Scott DA, Mills M, Black A, Cantwell M, Campbell A, Cardwell CR, Porter S, Donnelly M (2013) Multidimensional rehabilitation programmes for adult cancer survivors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3):CD007730. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007730.pub2
- 7.van der Leeden M, Huijsmans RJ, Geleijn E, de Rooij M, Konings IR, Buffart LM (2018) Tailoring exercise interventions to comorbidities and treatment-induced adverse effects in patients with early stage breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy: a framework to support clinical decisions. Disabil Rehabil 40:486–496. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2016.1260647 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 11.Ka ‘o LSI, Mitschke DB, Kloezeman KC (2008) Coping with breast cancer at the nexus of religiosity and Hawaiian culture: perspectives of native Hawaiian survivors and family members. J Relig Spiritual Soc Work Soc Thought 27(3):275–295. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426430802202187 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 17.Fleming J, Ledogar RJ (2008) Resilience and indigenous spirituality: a literature review. Pimatisiwin 6(2):1–13Google Scholar
- 21.Clark EJ, Stovall EL, Leigh S, Siu AL, Austin DK, Rowland JH (1996) Imperatives for Quality Cancer Care: Access, Advocacy, Action, and Accountability. National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), Silver SpringGoogle Scholar
- 23.Semino E, Demjén Z, Demmen J (2016) An integrated approach to metaphor and framing in cognition, discourse, and practice, with an application to metaphors for cancer. Appl Linguis 39(5):625–645. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amw028
- 26.Haug SHK, DeMarinis V, Danbolt LJ, Kvigne K (2016) The illness reframing process in an ethnic-majority population of older people with incurable cancer: variations of cultural- and existential meaning-making adjustments. Ment Health Relig Cult 19(2):150–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2015.1126705 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 31.First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) (2012) First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) 2008/10: National report on adults, youth and children living in First Nations communities. FNIGC, OttawaGoogle Scholar
- 37.Eide P (2006) Native hawaiian women and the experience of breast cancer. Women Health 44(4):41–59. https://doi.org/10.1300/J013v44n04_03
- 40.McCormick RM (1997) Healing through interdependence: the role of connecting in first nations healing practices. Can J Couns 31(3):172–184Google Scholar
- 41.Government of Canada (2016) First Nations. https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013791/1535470872302. Accessed 2018-10-23
- 42.Candy B, Jones L, Varagunam M, Speck P, Tookman A, King M (2012) Spiritual and religious interventions for well-being of adults in the terminal phase of disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (5):Cd0075445. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007544.pub2