Spiritual Care for Individuals with Cancer: The Importance of Life Review as a Tool for Promoting Spiritual Well-Being

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2021 Oct;37(5):151209. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2021.151209. Epub 2021 Aug 28.


Objective: To discuss spirituality in the context of cancer, focusing on the use of life review as a tool to help promote spiritual well-being among individuals with cancer.

Data sources: Literature regarding spirituality and life review of the author in cancer care provided the foundation for this article.

Conclusion: Reliance on spirituality as an untapped supportive resource may surprise patients and their families when dealing with a diagnosis of cancer. Coming to terms with advancing disease can be a time of internal and spiritual growth. It is important that all members of the health care team make efforts to understand that spirituality is part of the journey that the person with advanced cancer is going through and that life review is one way to promote spiritual well-being among patients with advanced cancer.

Implications for nursing practice: Nurses are ideally placed to provide spiritual care. Using life review, nurses can assist individuals coming to terms with their diagnosis and can positively impact spiritual and psychosocial well-being.

Keywords: Life review; Spiritual care; Spiritual distress; Spirituality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Patient Care Team
  • Spiritual Therapies*
  • Spirituality