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's up to you whether you feel you can carry on studying through treatment or not. There are lots of different ways you can do this so it's worth exploring options with your college or uni. 

Here's what you'll need to think about if you're wondering whether you can continue studying or not.

Continuing to study on treatment

Your college, uni or training provider should offer you lots of support to help you carry on studying - and it's all backed up with your legal rights. 

Here's a breakdown of support you should expect and how to access it.


If you have exams coming up, your college or university should be able to make special arrangements from extra time to specialist equipment. 

Find out how to make the most of your rights to get your qualifications.

Student loans, fees and benefits

If you're at uni, you'll need to think about how your illness will affect your loan and fees. You may be entitled to benefits to help you through this time.

Take a look at our guidance about your finances and who to talk to.

Pausing education

Many young people will need to take a break from their studies at some point. This all depends on your treatment and how you feel. It can be frustrating to put your education on hold but there are positive steps you can take.

Read about who you'll need to tell, and managing your fees and rent.

Returning to education

Going back to college or uni can feel really weird, especially if you've had to take lots of time out. It's normal to feel anxious or worried.

See our tips for dealing with anxiety, as well as how to get support to help you manage any effects of treatment.

Stopping education

Going through cancer can change your outlook on things and some young people change their minds about the direction they were headed before diagnosis. 

It's a big decision to stop so make sure you read this info to help you make the best choice.


If you want to learn something new, apprenticeships provide a mix of work experience and study. 

You're still entitled to support to help you with your apprenticeship - here's what you can expect.

Work experience

If you're looking to gain new skills and experience for your CV, there are lots of ways to go about this - including traineeships, internships and volunteering.

Find out more about what might work for you.

Updated January 2018, next review due 2019.