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Good spirits - Cancer Council asks how love, peace and hope help cancer patients?

Wednesday 29 August, 2012 by Rebecca

We all know that feeling happy puts a bounce in your step. But how far can positive psychology really take us when it comes to cancer? It can't beat cancer the way surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can, but does feeling at peace with your situation mean you're more open to positive experiences along the way? Does feeling loved and connected with other people mean you experience less physical pain and have more energy?

Now we're asking Australians to answer questions about their spiritual and wellbeing for research purposes - and we're asking you to help out.

Cancer Council has created an online questionnaire designed for cancer patients and survivors, their friends and family members, professional and informal carers and even people who have never been affected by cancer.  

It's hoped the answers will determine which aspects of spiritual wellbeing including appreciation and connectedness, love, peace, meaning and faith affect people's resilience against depression, anxiety and stress during a cancer journey. 

Through the study we hope to find out which are the most important emotional and spiritual aspects in improving cancer patients' resilience and quality of life throughout diagnosis, treatment and their ongoing experiences.

The research is being led by Cancer Council Australia researcher Dr Hayley Whitford, based at The University of Adelaide, and Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer, Professor Ian Olver.

Professor Olver says the study is unique because it aims to compare the experiences of people at different stages of the cancer journey and which aspects of wellbeing are the most important at which stage.

As he says, "this will help us better support the emotional needs of cancer patients and their families in the areas they need it most, when they need it most."

So, if you are 18 or over, have had a cancer diagnosis, are a cancer survivor, have been a carer of someone with cancer, or even if you have never had a cancer experience, you're being asked to take part in the research.

All you have to do is complete the online questionnaire now and again in six months' time. It should only take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

To find out more or complete the questionnaire visit www.cancer.org.au/2020vision

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