School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Fred Volk


complementary alternative medicine, breast cancer, women survivors, lived experiences, prayer, spirituality


Counseling | Medical Sciences


The purpose of this transcended phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of women who have survived breast cancer and how complementary alternative medicine (CAM), such as prayer and spirituality, were incorporated into their treatments. The research questions used to frame this study include: 1) How do women describe their experiences in seeking to engage faith and prayer praxis as a form of complementary alternative medicine in breast cancer treatment? 2) How do women describe their decision process in choosing faith and prayer as a form of complementary alternative medicine in their breast cancer treatment? The theory guiding this study is based on two key frameworks: the CAM decision-making process and CAM modality integrated decision-making model, as they explain the general decision-making elements of a patient under severe stress, such as in cancer (Chowdhuri & Kundu, 2020). Therefore, such trends raise both concerns and interest about the effectiveness and other ramifications of these approaches, where more detailed studies are required (Buckner et al., 2018). Data were collected from six women survivors of breast cancer using semi-structured interviews and cognitive representations. Two significant themes that emerged from the study and interviews included the lived experiences of the women and the importance of CAM, such as prayer, spirituality, and faith played a role in their healing journey. The implications of the results apply to the women survivors of breast cancer, their family members and friends, as well as the medical, mental health, and providers who serve them.