For Adolescents & Young Adults
Having a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, and encountering it during your teen or early adult years can be doubly challenging. School may have been a huge part of your life before cancer diagnosis, but you may have had to take significant time off school or defer your studies to focus on cancer treatment. Now that treatment is over, you may feel a sense of relief but at the same time, your feelings, priorities and routines may change as you adjust back to life after treatment.
You may be looking forward or feeling excited about returning to school, or you may choose to have a short break before resuming with your education. Nevertheless, there may be some common concerns you may have, including:
Despite these hurdles and uncertainties, going back to school as early as possible is definitely helpful. School can give you something to focus on, a sense of fulfilment, help you stay connected with your peers, and is essential in paving the way for your future and career.
If circumstances make it challenging to resume the path you had originally planned for, remember that there are many different options for education and work in today’s world. If you are unsure on the route to take, speak to your friends, seniors, teachers or school counsellors for better clarity. Your interests, goals and priorities will help determine the most suitable option for you.
What you need to look out for
Everyone copes with problems differently, but you may want to approach your healthcare team for advice if you experience any of the following:
What you can do
Education equips you with essential life skills and is an avenue for better career options which ultimately allows you to be socially and financially independent. It also builds our character and helps us better understand the world around us. Although returning to school after cancer treatment can be challenging, it is an important part of moving on in your life after cancer.
Here are some tips to help you better adapt to returning to school:
Keep up while on treatment
Plan in advance
When you return
Coping with social interactions
Coping with emotions
Coping with physical changes or treatment side effects
Coping with stress at school
Coping with finances
When to call your cancer care team
Please inform your doctor or nurse if you need any help adjusting with going back to school or need someone to talk to regarding any of the issues stated above.
If you are a patient with NCCS, you may also call
+65 6436 8417 or
+65 6436 8088 to book an appointment to speak to an NCCS medical social worker/ clinical psychologist.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please call the Cancer Helpline at
+65 6225 5655 or approach your doctor or nurse for further details.
Programmes for Youths (General):
here to download the PDF version of this article.
The above contents are made available as part of TEMASEK FOUNDATION-ACCESS (Accessible Cancer Care to Enable Support for Survivors) PROGRAMME, a holistic care programme to support cancer patients during their care and recovery journey.
The contents have been approved by the Cancer Education Information Service, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), for people with cancer and their families and caregivers. However, this information serves only as a guide and should not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. For specific medical conditions, please seek expert medical advice from your healthcare team.
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