Families who are faced with cancer undergo severe physical, psychological and financial strain. Students who are fighting cancer must often interrupt their education and cannot work to save money for college or participate in extracurricular activities. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery can be extremely debilitating, requiring extensive rehabilitation. Cancer survivors find it more difficult to find health, life and disability insurance, and the insurance that is available to them is usually much more expensive. They are not eligible for military scholarships, such as ROTC scholarships. According to a 2007 study published in the journal Pediatric Blood and Cancer, childhood cancer survivors are more than four times more likely to have difficulty finding employment as compared with healthy people. The entire experience is draining both emotionally and financially.
The most common forms of childhood and young adult cancer include Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, brain cancer, bone cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, testicular cancer, Wilms, rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma, neuroblastoma, germ cell cancers (uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer), and bone cancer (Ewing’s sarcoma and osteosarcoma).
This page provides information about awards that are not limited to a single college or university. To find more information about these and other cancer scholarships, search the Fastweb scholarship database. (When searching Fastweb for cancer scholarships, please answer the optional questions. There’s one that asks whether the student is a cancer survivor and one that asks whether the student’s parent had cancer. One can answer the optional questions by editing the profile through the link in the upper right hand corner of the site’s pages.)
In addition, students who are first diagnosed with cancer while in college should talk with the dean of students and the director of student financial aid at their school. Many colleges and universities have contingency funds to provide additional assistance to students who are suddenly faced with a serious illness.
According to a study published on September 11, 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cancer patients with a higher education are less likely to die of cancer than cancer patients with just a high school diploma. The study examined mortality rates for lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer for patients with 12 or fewer years of education compared with patients with more than 12 years of education. See Albano JD, Ward E, Jemal A, Anderson R, Cokkinides VE, Murray T, et al., Cancer Mortality in the United States by Education Level and Race. J Natl Cancer Inst 99:1384-1394, 2007.
For more information about scholarships for student effected by cancer and how to apply, visit Fastweb’s Cancer Scholarships page.