Psychosocial and Spiritual Issues in Supportive Cancer Care

  • Antonella Surbone
  • Gil GoldzweigEmail author
  • Lea Baider


Caring for cancer patients throughout their illness trajectory requires treating patients as whole persons, also including their families and loved ones, whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis. Recognizing, assessing, and addressing psychosocial issues, including spiritual needs, are therefore an integral part of cancer care and of its supportive dimension. Research and clinical practices in both psychosocial and spiritual areas have rapidly increased in the past decade. Spirituality is more and more integrated within the fields of oncology and palliative care as both patients and healthcare professionals recognizing the importance of the spiritual dimensions within the therapeutic relationship.

In this chapter we summarize some of the most relevant findings and also make use of narrative—a clinical vignette from within the culture and religious dimension of an Arab Muslim family to illustrate the depth of spiritual issues in our multicultural societies and clinical settings. We also focus on the special contribution of MASCC to the dissemination of a new paradigm of cancer care that integrates psychosocial issues at all stages of the cancer continuum. We point out the challenges of integrating and tailoring interventions suitable to the specific needs of the family and the patient and to relate directly to the cultural and spiritual perception of the illness.


Religion Spirituality Psychological dimensions Family Caregivers Clinical case 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of MedicineNew York University Medical SchoolNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Behavioral SciencesTel-Aviv-Yaffo Academic CollegeTel-AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Assuta Medical CentersOncology InstituteTel-AvivIsrael

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