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A diagnosis of advanced cancer is often the cue for people to search for meaning in life. For some, this may be the first time they are confronted with the thought of death or dying.

People may want to understand their purpose and legacy, to celebrate their life, and look for strength, peace, harmony and comfort. They, and those around them, may change their priorities and think about what they want from life.

This is when spirituality, religion, faith or belief in a greater power comes into play. For some, it is an unstructured approach – spending time with others, basking in memories and reflecting on their experiences. For others, prayer, religious rites and spiritual guidance not only provide comfort and support, but increase their ability to cope with their illness.

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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015