Medical Considerations at School

Courtesy of Miller Children's Hospital

Attending school is an important part of a child’s life. Going back to school after a diagnosis of children’s cancer is an important step in returning to a child’s normal routine. Although there are some inherent risks of infection and “catching something,” the benefits of attending school far outweigh the risks. Maintaining friendships and routine interactions with peers are essential to normal psychological development and are as, or more important than academic issues.

A child with cancer will have many physical changes that will be noticeable, including hair loss, decreased energy and an increased potential for bruising and nosebleeds. Some temporary changes include weight gain or loss, mood swings, facial fullness, problems with coordination, difficulties with fine and gross motor control, muscle weakness and body marks resembling tattoos, which identify sites of radiation.

Many children undergoing treatment for cancer may have fatigue, which they describe as feeling tired, weak or sad. The fatigue may be severe enough that the child needs a nap during school time or is only able to attend for half days. Often the child cannot fully participate in physical activities due to their fatigue, but they should be encouraged to do as much as they feel they can.

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The information and content provided on this website is made available for informational purposes only for children and their families affected by cancer. While the Children's Oncology Group strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the information may be out of date or incomplete in certain respects. Please do not rely on this information and seek the care of a qualified medical professional if you have questions regarding a specific medical condition, disease, diagnosis or symptom. The information and content presented herein is not intended to replace the independent clinical judgement, medical advice, screening, health counseling, or other intervention performed by your (or your child's) health care provider. Please contact "911" or your emergency services if this is a health emergency. No endorsement of any specific tests, products, or procedures is made herein.