The Role of Spirituality in the Breast Cancer Experiences of African American Women

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Abstract

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer type among African American women. African American women often use spirituality to overcome the physical, psychological, and emotional burdens that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis. Spirituality has been used over the years by African American women to bring hope when dealing with hardships. This integrative review seeks to explore the importance of spirituality to African American women throughout the breast cancer experience. Thirteen qualitative and quantitative studies that discussed how spirituality was used to cope with breast cancer from initial diagnosis to survivorship were reviewed. Spirituality was found to be the main coping mechanism used during all phases of the cancer experience. To provide holistic nursing care, nurses must understand that spirituality is an important coping strategy used by most African American women with breast cancer. The implications for nursing that were identified include the incorporation of spiritual interventions and the utilization of culturally appropriate assessment tools.

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