Interesting Study Regarding Cancer Treatment For Religious

schiavo protestNo one wants to get cancer. If someone gets it, how do they handle treatment? How do they face their own imminent death?

A recent study about End of Life Care (EOL) for people with terminal cancer produced some interesting results that I had to share with you.
Link Between Religious Coping And Aggressive Treatment In Terminally Ill Cancer Patients

"Recent research has shown that religion and spirituality are major sources of comfort and support for patients confronting advanced disease. We focused specifically on positive religious coping, on people who rely on their faith to handle the stresses of serious illness and approaching death. Our findings indicate that patients who turn to religion to cope in times of crisis, such as when facing death, are more likely to receive aggressive care when they die."

The study involved 345 advanced cancer patients at seven hospital and cancer centers around the country.

An analysis of the data showed that patients identified as positive religious copers had nearly three times the odds of receiving life-prolonging care, in the form of being on a ventilator or receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in the final week of life. Even after researchers accounted for the influence of important factors such as age, ethnicity, or other coping techniques, the connection between religious coping and aggressive EOL care held up.

The researchers also found that religious copers in the study were less likely to have completed advance medical directives, such as a living will or do-not-resuscitate order, which can limit the extent of such interventions in advance. The effects of religious coping on the use of intensive medical care in the last week of life remained significant even after adjusting for differences in advance care planning.

Wow. So, if you're deeply religious, you go to great lengths, even if it reduces the quality of your remaining hours and days, just to stay alive. How bizarre. Shouldn't you be happy and eager to die and be on your way to heaven? Why cling to life in your hospital bed, tied up to tubes and machines, just to be not dead for another week?

What a strange study. The way they wrote up the results is weird to me.
The study did not explore why religious copers often tend to prefer and receive extensive end-of-life care, the authors note. The researchers hope to examine such questions in future studies.

"Our results highlight how patients' ways of coping, particularly their use of religious coping, factor prominently into the ultimate medical care patients receive. This suggests that clinicians should be attentive to terminally ill patients' religious views as they discuss prognosis and treatment options with them."

So, be sensitive to the patients' needs? Well, duh. But this has interesting implications, don't you think? Why do the deeply religious cling to life at the expense of dignity and quality of life? Why does the pope drive around in the pope-mobile behind bullet-proof glass? Ok, that's just a bit random, but you get my point.

ladybug love

On a separate note, I'm sorry for being so sparse with my posting lately. I'm totally obsessed with my microscope. It's wonderful and frustrating at the same time. I want to be able to take pictures through it, but I can't make it work. I can't find a way to easily focus (I only have one eyepiece), and the cameras I have don't want to focus and have a huge black vignette around the image, so there's just a little circular image with mostly black.

Worse than that, I've been taking samples of water from my creek. Oh, the wild and interesting things I've seen! But, and this baffles me endlessly, I can't find a place to identify what I see! Why is there no online database of microorganisms? I can find any kind of stupid video of some ridiculous celebrity saying something inane, or pictures of them, etc, but I can't find out what the little creatures in my creek are called?

Everything I've found in book form is either super uber scientific and outrageously priced and rarefied beyond effectiveness, or for 4th graders. WTF? I want a database. Google has let me down. This is so frustrating. I have no idea how to find out what I'm looking at. I've got to find a resource. Please oh please, if you have any suggestions about photomicrography on a budget, or finding a resource to identify microorganisms, please let me know!


  1. If you are talking about microorganisms (mainly bacteria), normally identification by microscope is not possible since other tests such as staining, chemical, genetic, immunological tests need to be employed. That coupled with the fact that we estimate that we have only identified less than 1% of all bacteria on the planet! (& the constant evolution/ mutation aspects are far accelerated in bacteria, almost gerarationally). If you are talking about microfauna which includes bigger critters such as amoeba, algae, diatoms, flagellates, nematodes, protazoa etc. then you will need to have some sort of idea what you are looking at in order to find useful keys on the internet which tend to be maintained by the particular researcher. The following link gives an outline of the main types or organisms you can find. Hope its useful to you.

  2. r12, thank you so much for the link!
    I was talking about bacteria but I've since learned that it isn't possible to see them. That's ok, I've found the world of microorganisms like the ones you sent in that link, which will be helpful.
    I still wish I could see bacteria because they fascinate me so much. But little critters are soooooo cool to observe.
    Thanks again! :D