Solace for the Cankered Soul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scourge of cancer mortally wounds the soul. From the time of diagnosis, the spiritual shock should be recognized, acknowledged, and addressed in concert with the personalized management strategy for the tumor. Optimal cancer care treats both body and soul. Psycho-oncology theory defines existential issues and spirituality in conceptually ambiguous terms but, in reality, such afflictions of the spirit cause great suffering in cancer patients. Patients often seek reassurance that their life has purpose and meaning, and the provision of emotional and soulful support from their oncologist is of inestimable importance to spiritual well-being. In addition to the time and resource constraints of daily clinical practice, recent challenges to the personal doctor-patient relationship include e-medicine and virtual clinical encounters, and the potential disruption to be wrought by new generation artificial intelligence. These obstacles are addressed with a view to the physician being able to continue to provide empathic compassionate care. The art of Kintsugi is invoked to offer a metaphor for restoration of the soul afflicted by cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals
Issue number7
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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