Cancer in the School Community

The impact of cancer can have a ripple effect, touching not only the person diagnosed, but the wider community. Cancer in the School Community is a guide for school staff who would like to support students, families and colleagues affected by cancer. The content is relevant for all primary and secondary school staff throughout Australia. It may also be useful for parents, guardians, students and family members.

This book provides;

  • Information about the physical and emotional impacts of cancer
  • Planning strategies to support students through a cancer experience
  • Tips for talking about cancer with members of your school community

The resource intends to increase your confidence in responding effectively and sensitively to the issues that cancer may raise in your school community.

You can download the whole guide, or individual chapters that are relevant to you.

Chapter 1 – Information about cancer
  • What is cancer
  • Treatment and side effects
  • Who gets cancer, cancer in children and adolescents
Chapter 2 – Talking about cancer
  • Respecting privacy
  • Appointing a school liaison person
  • Understanding differences and communicating with people of all ages
  • Different views of cancer
Chapter 3 – When a student has cancer
  • When a student is diagnosed
  • Setting up a communication channel
  • Supporting a student during and after treatment
  • Special provisions for exams and access to tertiary study
Chapter 4 – When a family member has cancer
  • When a family member has cancer
  • How young people react and changes in school performance
  • How your school can help
Chapter 5 – When a staff member has cancer
  • How cancer affects the staff member
  • How parents can help
  • Cancer in the workplace and dealing with side effects
  • The role of the Principal
Chapter 6 – The bereaved school community
  • How to prepare for a cancer death
  • Action to take when someone dies and helping people who are bereaved
  • When a student, family member or staff member dies, and planning a memorial
  • Seeking professional support
Chapter 7 – Finding further support
  • Support from Cancer Council
  • School support services
Glossary and index

Ponytail Project

The Ponytail Project has raised over $104,000 for Queensland families affected by cancer. This fundraising initiative empowers all students across Queensland to play their part in helping those affected by cancer.

For more information about the Ponytail Project, and how your school can be involved, go to Ponytail Project.

Other resources for your school

Cancer information resources

Cancer Council Queensland provides support, information and resources, at no cost, for people throughout Queensland. These services are made possible through the generous donations of Queenslanders and we thank them for their continued support.

We have a variety of resources available to download or order, which includes easy-to-read information about;

  • Specific types of cancer
  • Treatments
  • Emotional and practical issues for people with cancer, their families and friends
  • Early detection and reducing cancer risk
  • Cancer Council Queensland support services

QUEST Cancer Prevention Program

QUEST provides strategies, resources and ongoing support to promote health and wellbeing in your organisation. Access our resource library to download practical tools and resources.

National SunSmart Program

The National SunSmart Program is a free program that aims to improve Sun Safety policies for Queensland primary schools, special education facilities, early childhood centres, family day cares and outside of school hours care, to ensure children and staff are protected from harmful UV exposure.

For more information on the National SunSmart Program, visit the National SunSmart Program page

SunSmart Shade Initiative

Cancer Council Queensland and the Queensland Department of Health support the SunSmart Shade Creation Initiative, providing matched funding for portable and permanent shade for not-for-profit organisations that cater to children 0-18 years. For more information about the SunSmart Shade Creation Initiative, or to apply visit the SunSmart Shade Initiative page.

Healthy Educators’ Program

Cancer Council Queensland and TUH Health Fund have jointly developed the Healthy Educators’ Program, which aims to advise Queensland educators on cancer prevention and healthy living through a series of educational workshops.

For more information on the Healthy Educators’ Program, visit the Healthy Educators’ Workshop page


Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer, or have a family member, friend or work colleague who is affected by cancer, there are times when you may need support. Our professional services and support programs are here to help you.

For more information call Cancer Council on 13 11 20

You don’t have to face cancer alone – we’re here to help.