VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 7 1 Mário Schwarz 1 Introduction Cancer is one of the most feared medical diagnoses that may affect any organ and system of human body (Tóthová and Žiaková 2017, 6). Very close attention is paid to this disease due to its high occurrence in the population and level of mortality connected to it. A cancer diagnosis may have a significant impact on the mental state of patients from the early stage (determina- tion of the diagnosis), through the process of treatment, up to the psychological experience of a patient after being cured (Schroevers et al . 2010, 46). Cancer is thus regarded as a traumatizing experience with long-term psychological effects. Traumatic events are defined as events involving ac - tual or imminent death or a serious injury, where the person exposed to such an event experiences the feelings of dread, helplessness, and fear (Zoellner and Maercker 2006, 628). The patients interrupt their education and work careers, isolate themselves from their friends and social groups (Zebrack et al . 2014, 1267). Apart from a negative impact, difficult events in human life, such as cancer, may also have a positive impact on individ - ual’s life. The positive changes help to protect the mental, social, relational, and physical state of the patients. Casel- las-Grau, Font and Vives (2014, 9) claim, there is an evidence that cancer may positively influence on self-perception, re - lationships and values of cancer patients, which may result in the reorganization of their priorities in life. According to Manne et al . (2004, 442), positive changes reported by can - cer patients cover the range from existential changes, such as significantly changed views of spirituality, to behavioral changes. These changes are recognized by 60% to 90% of the cancer survivors. The positive changes caused by a traumat - ic event are described as posttraumatic growth . Brunet et al . (2010, 831) introduce the construct of posttraumatic growth as a process of achieving positive results attributed to or occurring in relation to a response to a crisis or a trauma - tizing experience. Existential treatises by Frankl constitute the basis of the concept of posttraumatic growth introduc- ing a positive shift in perspective and priorities that might occur when one faces death (Barakat, Alderfer and Kazak About the authors Mgr. Mário Schwarz, PhD. , is an Assistant Professor of psychology at the Department of Psychology at Trna- va University. His research interests include conflict resolution, spirituality, and forgiveness in context of logotherapy. He is available at mario.schwarz@truni. sk. Bc. Lucia Vavrová , a graduate from Psychology deals with cancer patients and cancer survivors in relation to their mental health and posttraumatic growth.

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