The Spiritual Beliefs of Cancer Survivors: A Thematic Analysis

Devaki Nandan Sharma, Gyanesh Kumar Tiwari, Pramod Kumar Rai


Aim: This study explored the nature of spiritual beliefs and their role in regulating various life outcomes of cancer survivors. Method: A heterogeneous sample of thirty diagnosed cancer patients with age ranging from 18 to 75 years participated in the study. The study employed a qualitative research design which involved semi-structured interviews and the thematic analysis of the audiotaped contents of these interviews. Results: The analyses led to five themes regarding the spiritual beliefs of the participants. The identified themes were: “optimistic change towards life”, “fighting spirit towards life”, “enhanced trust in family and friends”, “improved realistic self-perception”, and “positive thinking with future orientations”. Conclusions: The findings of the study showed that spiritual beliefs represented a complex phenomenon comprising cognitive, affective and behavioural components. Spiritual beliefs also carried many positive outcomes to regain and maintain psychological balance, well-being, quality of life and health. It also facilitated the patients to have strong desires to compensate their losses due to ill health by setting and achieving higher spiritual, social and interpersonal goals by carrying out social services, sacrifice and altruistic deeds.


spiritual belief; thematic analysis; health outcome; cancer; cancer survivors