Beliefs and Perceptions About Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment-Seeking and Decision-Making Behaviors Among Omani Patients with Cancer: A Single-Center Study

J Relig Health. 2021 Aug 11. doi: 10.1007/s10943-021-01381-9. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

A cancer diagnosis is associated with anxiety and psychological distress. Cultural and societal factors greatly affect the complex process of coping mechanisms and decision making. Omani patients receiving cancer treatment at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman were interviewed about their perceptions regarding cancer, treatment, outcome, and decision making. Out of a total of 360 approached, 216 patients consented. The median age was 42 years. The results showed that 60.6% of patients considered cancer diagnosis as a test from God, 13.9% considered it as a result of an evil eye, 40% believed prayers treat cancer. Fifty-six percent of participants wanted to make treatment decisions themselves, while 2.3% preferred their family to make decisions. Our findings suggest that perceptions about cancer in Oman are specific and are associated with religion and sociocultural background.

Keywords: Beliefs; Cancer; Culture; Decision making; Oman; Perception; Religion.