Education and training

If you’re a student, you may be wondering about being able to stay in school, college or university once diagnosed with cancer. It’s often possible to continue with a course – and keeping a normal routine can be steadying. Just make sure you get the right support and flexibility to help you.

Can I stay in education?

It really depends on your particular situation. The effects of treatment, particularly fatigue, can make it tricky but it’s often possible to carry on studying. Just make sure you get the right support and flexibility to help you.

Speaking to your care team

Before you start treatment, your consultant or nurse should be able to give you an idea of how your education will be impacted, and you can go from there. You can also talk through your options with your CLIC Sargent Young People's Social Worker or Community Worker, if you have one. 

Alternative ways to keep studying

You don’t necessarily have to continue with your studies in the same way as before. It’s worth knowing, before you make a decision, that there are other ways to carry on learning in a way that’s better for you:

Studying in hospital

Your college or university may be willing for you to continue studying while in hospital. You can ask for work to be sent to you or access your work online. If you're well enough, you could even take up a new online course. This could help to relieve the boredom!

Statutory hospital education

Most children’s cancer hospitals have education departments that can support young people in compulsory education while they’re in hospital, so this may be available to you if you are of school age. A hospital teacher, or one of the people caring for you, will usually contact your place of education and make a plan for your education.

Home tuition

If you're in compulsory education but not well enough to go to school, you may be entitled to home tuition. Depending on where you live, you may be offered online learning. Your local authority can provide more information about this.

Revisiting your situation

Your decision right now doesn’t have to be final. Keep revisiting your situation with your college or university, and consultant as you may become more or less able to keep up with your studies during treatment. 

Support throughout

You can get advice from your school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), or your college or university’s learning support adviser or disability adviser. They can tell you about your options and rights. 

These include certain adjustments that should be made by your school, college or university to help you remain in education or make your return as easy as possible.

Where next?

Updated January 2017, next review due December 2017.