Trusting God and medicine: Spirituality in advanced cancer patients volunteering for clinical trials of experimental agents



The purpose of this study was to examine the role of spirituality in terminally ill cancer patients who volunteer for clinical trials of experimental agents. Information about spirituality (FACIT-Sp), quality of life (FACT-G), awareness of prognosis, and decision-making preferences was obtained from 162 advanced cancer patients who volunteered for phase I trials. In a multivariable model, phase I patients had slightly higher levels of spirituality (p<0.001) than a group of 156 advanced cancer patients who were not participants in phase I trials. For the phase I patients, spirituality was positively associated with quality of life (Spearman rho = 0.36, p<0.001). There was little association between either spirituality or religious problem-solving style and phase I patients' awareness of their prognosis or decision-making preferences. One phase I patient who said, ‘I put faith in doctors and God,’ expressed these patients' willingness to trust both God and medicine. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.