"Back to school" - An evaluation of a re-entry program for school-aged children with cancer

Mary-Lou Ellerton, Cathy Turner


This study describes an evaluation of a program to help eight to 12-year-old children with school re-entry after initial diagnosis and treatment for cancer. The effects of the program on the children's classmates' knowledge about cancer and attitudes towards the child are reported. The self-reported coping strategies used by the returning children for management of major concerns about school re-entry are described. Overall, classmates were well-informed about cancer and described mainly positive feelings towards the returning children and these feelings did not change significantly as a result of the program. Nevertheless, the notion that cancer is always a fatal disease was persistent and many classmates reported personal fears and vulnerabilities associated with cancer. Returning children described teasing as a major concern and reported very individual patterns of coping with teasing. Implications for practice and research are presented.

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