Exploring the Experiences of University Students with a History of Cancer: A Pilot Study

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1 Scopus citations


This exploratory pilot study aims to provide preliminary data describing the experiences of university student cancer survivors, quantify their connection to the campus Disability Resource Center, and assess the feasibility of conducting research with this population. In this descriptive study of cancer survivor students at one large university in the southwestern U.S., online survey respondents with a history of cancer (N = 19) reported cognitive, emotional, and physical limitations that affected their educational experience. The majority (78.9%) of our participants were children, adolescents, or young adults (up to age 39) when diagnosed with cancer; all others were diagnosed between 40 and 60 years old. We found that students living with cancer have short- and long-term impairments, including memory issues that made academic performance difficult. These effects led some students to cope individually while others sought support from institutional entities or instructors. Here we document survivor experiences and propose next steps in research, which includes an intervention that builds on our preliminary findings and uses the positive deviance model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cancer survivorship
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Disability services
  • Higher education
  • Physical impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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