A study testing a new way of looking at spiritual wellbeing

Cancer type:

All cancer types
Secondary cancers





This study was done to find out what people thought of a new way to measure their spiritual wellbeing during cancer treatment.

The study was open for people to join between 2012 and 2013. The team published the results in 2017.

More about this trial

Doctors use quality of life questionnaires to find out how people having treatment for cancer are feeling.

They often use a general questionnaire and a questionnaire related to a specific cancer or treatment. There are guidelines for researchers to use when developing these questionnaires. 

Researchers running this study had developed a questionnaire about spiritual wellbeing. It was called the EORTC QLQ SWB 36 to begin with. They needed to check that it asked the right questions and was useful, and easy for people to use.

It asked people about things such as whether they:

  • felt loved
  • were able to forgive themselves or others
  • felt lonely, worried or fulfilled
  • were able to talk about their feelings
  • believed in a God
  • felt prayer was important
  • had beliefs which had changed since they became unwell

The aim of this study was to test the new questionnaire to make sure it was useful to assess spiritual wellbeing.

Summary of results

The researchers asked 451 people what they thought about the new quality of life questionnaire. Everyone taking part had cancer that had spread and could not be cured.


  • were from 14 different countries 
  • spoke 10 different languages
  • had a number of different cancers, including lung, breast and bowel cancer

Of those who identified as having a religious belief, most people were Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Jewish.

The research team started with 36 items on the questionnaire. After several rounds of review they decided on 32 items.

They concluded that the new questionnaire is an accurate way to find out about spiritual wellbeing.

It is now available on the EORTC website for doctors and research teams to use - EORTC QLQ-SWB32.

More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the reference below. 

Please note, the information we link to here is not in plain English. It has been written for healthcare professionals and researchers.

The international phase 4 validation study of the EORTC QLQ-SWB32: A stand-alone measure of spiritual well-being for people receiving palliative care for cancer
B. Vivat and others
European Journal of Cancer Care, 2017. Volume 26, issue 6.

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on the information in the article above. This has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. We have not analysed the data ourselves. 

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Teresa Young

Supported by

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
EORTC Quality of Life Group
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8899

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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