Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Religiosity and Beliefs About the Transmission of Cancer, Chemotherapy, and Radiation Through Physical Contact in Saudi Arabia

  • Rolina Al-Wassia
  • Faten Al-Zaben
  • Mohammad Gamal Sehlo
  • Harold G. KoenigEmail author
Original Paper


We examined relationships between religiosity and Saudi cancer patients’ beliefs about the spread of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy through close physical contact. Surveyed were 64 patients seen in university oncology clinics. Assessed were beliefs about the spread of cancer and its treatments, along with religious, demographic, social, psychological, and cancer-related characteristics. Greater religiosity was related to older age, non-Saudi nationality, less anxiety, earlier cancer stage, and greater time since initial diagnosis. Non-significant trends suggested that religious practices were associated with less, but intrinsic religious beliefs with more concern about contagiousness, although the findings were limited by low statistical power.


Religiosity Cancer Chemotherapy Radiation therapy Contagiousness 



The authors thank Alshima Dawod Al-Mahnaby and Masheal Taha Alsomali for their tireless efforts and assistance with this project.


Funding was provided by Interdepartmental Funds.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.King Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Zagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt
  5. 5.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  6. 6.School of Public HealthNingxia Medical UniversityYinchuanPeople’s Republic of China

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