Recognizing spiritual injury in cancer: A case study

Jessica I. Goldberg, Laurie J. Andersen, Jill Bowden, Judith E. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Background Spiritual distress is a common symptom among patients with cancer. Spiritual injury (SI), a type of spiritual distress, occurs when there is a breakdown in the relationship between the individual and their higher power. Patients who experience spiritual injury may have poor health outcomes. Methods A case report of a woman with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer who had experienced a SI. Results The palliative care team, in collaboration with the palliative care chaplain, was able to recognize that the patient had experienced a SI. They were able to help the patient to process and reflect upon this experience and ultimately treat her suffering. Significance of results All palliative care providers should assess their patients’ spiritual health and monitor for the existence of SI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-140
Number of pages3
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Case report
  • Spiritual distress
  • Spiritual injury


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