Spiritual Screening and Assessment

Armen Hareyan's picture

A spiritual assessment may help the doctor understand if a patient will use religious or spiritual beliefs to cope with the cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Knowing the role that religion and spirituality play in the patient's life may help the doctor understand how religious and spiritual beliefs affect the patient's response to the cancer diagnosis and decisions about cancer treatment. Some doctors or caregivers may wait for the patient to bring up spiritual concerns. Others will ask for some initial information in an interview or on a form called a spiritual assessment.

A spiritual assessment will include asking about religious preference, beliefs, and spiritual practices.


Medical staff may not ask about every issue the patient feels is important. The patient should feel comfortable bringing up other spiritual or religious issues that he or she thinks may affect cancer care.

A spiritual assessment may include questions relating to the following issues:

  • Religious denomination, if any.
  • Beliefs or philosophy of life.
  • Important spiritual practices or rituals.
  • Use of spirituality or religion as a source of strength.
  • Participation in a religious community.
  • Use of prayer or meditation.
  • Loss of faith.
  • Conflicts between spiritual or religious beliefs and cancer treatments.
  • Ways the caregivers may address the patient's spiritual needs.
  • Concerns about death and the afterlife.
  • End-of-life planning.


Provided by www.cancer.gov