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Returning to school after a cancer diagnosis

Returning to school after a cancer diagnosis can be challenging for children, their families and the school.  Children with cancer may experience many disruptions in their school attendance due to frequent hospitalizations, side effects of treatment and fatigue.  Going to school is an important part of your child returning to a normal routine.

School & The Plan

  • During Hospitalization
    • Identify Hospital/School Liaison
    • Activate Hospital or Home Education
    • Inform Classmates
      • Effects of Cancer Treatment
      • Appearance
      • Energy Level
      • Suppressed Immune System
      • School Absences

Ways The School Can Help With School Reentry

  • Social Support
    • Cards
    • Email, text
    • Facetime or Skype
    • Hopecam
    • Social Media (instagram, facebook)
  • School Environment
    • Educate school personnel about child’s medical needs (communicable disease plan)
    • Modify the environment and advocate for the child’s needs (decreased school day, etc)
    • Create a plan for the child to ensure educational needs are met (IEP, IDEA)
  • Free Patient Websites
    • These secure websites – free patient blogs- help to connect family and friends during a health challenge.  There are free community calendars, photo sharing etc.
      • Care Pages
      • Caring Bridge
      • My Life Line

Resources for School Personnel

American Childhood Cancer Organization offers a free book called Educating the Child with Cancer: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Children’s Oncology Group has online resource that provides information on talking with your classroom about cancer, medical considerations at school and more.

Cure Search for Children’s Cancer is an online resource that provides guidance for school personnel on how to support a child with cancer.

Programs Especially for Schools

Alex’s Lemonade Stand's The Change Childhood Cancer School Program invites any school to be a part of finding a cure for all children with cancer by participating in the coin collection program. Learn more at

American Childhood Cancer Organization. Pjammin for Kids with Cancer is a way that schools can join the fight to beat childhood cancer. Students wear their PJ’s to school for a minimum donation of $1. Learn more at

Monkey In My Chair is a program for preschool and elementary age children who are away from school because of a cancer diagnosis.  Each child is provided with a monkey kit which includes a stuffed monkey that takes the child’s place in school when he or she is unable to be there.  Learn more at

Hope Cam provides the child with cancer a tablet computer equipped with a webcam, Internet access in the home if the child is without, and a web cam for the school so the child can participate in classroom activities, and see & talk with their friends. Learn more at