After a cancer diagnosis, many turn to their faith for answers. In fact, the 2014 Cancer Experience: A National Study of Patients and Caregivers found that nearly 80 percent of African American cancer patients are driven by faith and spirituality while enduring treatment. This statistic clearly shows the need for health care providers to offer and encourage faith-based support to help treat the whole person – physically, mentally and spiritually.
Jacqueline Griffin, who has a Master of Arts in Theology and is a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC), is also a chaplain for the Pastoral Care program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, Az. In her work, she finds that recently diagnosed patients may ask themselves, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” “Where’s God in this?,” or “why must I suffer with this disease?”
“It is normal for people to turn to their faith with tough questions when facing a crisis like a cancer diagnosis,” says Griffin. “That’s why it’s so important for cancer care providers to acknowledge the significance of providing spiritual support during these transformational moments.”