Increasingly, oncology is practiced within multicultural environments. All aspects of care, including spiritual care should be delivered to patients with cancer in a culturally sensitive manner. In this article, we discuss the influence of culture on patients with cancer throughout the disease process by highlighting relevant reports in the literature.
Most articles focussing on culture and oncology are single-author or single-institution narrative reports pertaining to experiences with an individual racial, ethnic, religious or minority patient group. The majority of articles are found within the palliative care and nursing literature.
Health-related values vary widely across cultures, and the experience of spiritual care in oncology differs greatly across cultural groups. Although culture is generally recognized as an important health determinant that impacts the experience of care, the extent of different cultural influences is not well understood due to a paucity of relevant data, and reports on resources and educational strategies to optimize culturally competent spiritual care are similarly lacking.
aDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
bDepartment of Radiation Oncology and Developmental Radiotherapeutics, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Correspondence to Kristopher Dennis, MD, FRCPC, Department of Radiation Oncology, Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4N3M5, Canada. Tel: +1 416 480 4998; fax: +1 416 480 6100; e-mail: email@example.com