Spirituality in gynecological oncology: a review


Lois M. Ramondetta, MD, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Unit 440, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA. Email: lramonde@mdanderson.org


The following is a review of some of the work that has been published on issues related to definitions of spirituality and the many ways in which religious or spiritual concerns inform and can sometimes mold the relationships between gynecologic oncology patients, their physicians, and their health. Moreover, we have raised the question whether there is something specific or unique to the experience of women patients with reproductive cancers? Although it might seem clear to many of us that these patients are unique, it is hard to say exactly why. While there are differences between the various types of reproductive cancers, all share a common thread and all undermine the patient's identity as a woman. For oncologists, exploring the connection between the healing of the body and the healing of the spirit recognizes the comprehensive character of cancer treatment, and furthers the understanding that both physicians and patients share a knowledge that what patients lose in their battle with cancer is more than simply a medical life.