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Spirituality in addressing death in oncological patients in palliative care

Journal of Cancer Prevention & Current Research
Manoel Pereira da Silva Junior, Michelly de Oliveira Leopoldino, Fernanda da Silva Monteiro, Ana Paula Miyazawa


For the oncology patient in palliative care, talking about the process of death and dying can cause discomfort, because, in addition to insecurity about their future, it can awaken a negative feeling that influences the way the patient and his family deal with the situation imposed by illness. The aim of this study was to discuss the role of spirituality in coping with death in patients under palliative care. This is a descriptive, exploratory study with a qualitative approach carried out through a literature review. A search was carried out in the sources of concepts and principles: National Palliative Care Agency-ANCP and the National Cancer Institute-INCA, as well as research in Scientifc Eletronic Library Online (Scielo), in the databases, in the virtual health library (VHL) ) and Latin American in Health Sciences (LILACS) in the period from July to November 2019. One can experience spirituality even though conceptualizing it as atheism, as the search for spirituality does not necessarily mean a search for God. This demonstrates how spirituality has a particular and subjective character, without having to follow absolute truths imposed by religions. Ignoring the spiritual dimension makes the patient’s approach incomplete because it puts the focus of care centered on the disease. It is concluded that the humanization of palliative care for cancer patients must go further, contemplating the patient’s spiritual issues, since the concern and questions about death take on a greater proportion when physical symptoms are no longer a challenge to be addressed. overcome, but rather, the fear of the unknown before the prospect of death.


palliative care, spirituality, oncology