My Belief System Helped Me Cope With Cancer

A cancer survivor offers how her faith helped her through her cancers.
PUBLISHED November 11, 2015
Barbara Tako is a breast cancer survivor (2010), melanoma survivor (2014) and author of Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools–We'll Get You Through This. She is a cancer coping advocate, speaker and published writer for television, radio and other venues across the country. She lives, survives, and thrives in Minnesota with her husband, children and dog. See more at,or
Connectedness to religion or spirituality or nature — these words can be a touchy topic and have different meanings for different people. I don’t wish to offend anyone. I just want to share something that was meaningful to me personally and you can use or disregard as you wish. Whatever your belief system is, your beliefs can be a helpful resource to you as you try to process your cancer experience — especially during some of those long sleepless nights when you don’t want to wake anyone. Did you or do you draw on your beliefs at diagnosis, active treatment, or later as a survivor?

Try reaching out and connecting to your own belief system when you cope with cancer. G.M., a long-distance friend emailed me the “meal” below a few months ago. Because of my Christian belief system, it was a good reminder. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I am not as in charge of my life as I like to think I am. My friend put my first name in with each passage so that my name was substituted wherever it says “you” or “we” or “us/our.” If your faith background is Christian, try substituting your name when you read below. I found help and comfort in this “meal” he put together and I hope you do too. If you have a different belief system, skip past dessert down below if you wish.

Appetizer: You are healed!

"But He was wounded for our (Barb’s) transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are (Barb is) healed and made whole." - Isaiah 53:5 (AMP)

Entrée: You're not a survivor; you're more than a conqueror! Victory is yours!

"Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39 (AMP)

Dessert: Give God the glory, honor, and praise for your life experiences!

"And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans." - Romans 8:28 (TLB)

At the end of this, my friend signed it with his classic signature:

“Be blessed and be a blessing.” - G.M.

Linking to a belief system and/or connecting to nature can be helpful tools in getting through cancer. Your core beliefs can help connect you and support you and comfort you in your darkest hours. When cancer shook me right to my very core, it helped strengthen my belief system, and my belief system helped strengthen me and get me through my cancer experience. Was your belief system helpful to you?

A.J., another friend of mine said she turned to her Bible when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She read it frequently through active treatment, and now, many years later, she says she continues to read it simply because she discovered that she enjoys reading it. I thought that was pretty neat.

Not everyone will find comfort in his belief system. Not everyone will be comfortable with this article. It is not my intent to offend — I just personally feel like a discussion of cancer isn’t complete without a reference to and mention of one’s belief system in the process as another tool available to help support cancer survivors through their journey. Thank you for reading my thoughts. I hope you share yours in the discussion board.
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