Be the Boss Over Cancer

Hello, I am currently a college student and I have been going along slowly with my general education. The past week I have really thought about what I want to do and where I want to be. I am very interested in doing something cancer related. I want to work with kids but I have no idea where to start. What should I go to school for. Oncology? I am not so sure I want to be an actual doctor but is there any thing that I could do as a career? 

A little about my self, I was thinking about majoring in Agriculture Science to become a teacher. I am actively involved with The American Cancer Society Relay For Life. I lost my grandfather in 2006 to leukemia. I currently work in an auto shop as a service writer full time and go to school. I live in Hemet, Ca. Any suggestions or ideas would help. 


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  • Amanda S.

    Amanda S. on Jun 21, 2011

    Oh, I think I miss understood this website. I see it is for cancer patients and their careers. I am hoping maybe you might still be able to direct me to someone that I may be able to talk with. Thanks! This is a great program you have. :)

  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on Jun 22, 2011

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for reaching out.  There are a number of routes that you can take in your career path that can lead you to working in a cancer related field. As you mention oncology is one of them; oncology nurses are particularly in demand, but there are also doctors, social workers, etc.  If you are interested in entering the medical profession you might want to consider some of these avenues and speak with someone in your area who works in them or teaches at programs for them.

    There are ways to get involved outside of the medical world as well.  The other main cancer related field is cancer nonprofits.  There are a variety of them out there (including ACS which you mention you've volunteered for) that hire in any number of capacities, from communications to fundraising to accounting and everything in between.  A great website for these sorts of job postings is

    I hope this helps!


  • Kathy Flora

    Kathy Flora on Jun 29, 2011

    Career Coach Comment:


    Congratulations for finding a passion that may carry you through to a career.  It is challenging to determine you life's work, but remember that each step you take can bring you closer to that dream job, though you may not start exactly where you want.   I am intrigued by the fact that you thought about agricultural sciences.   Because of that little tidbit in your first question, I want to encourage you to look into the biological sciences, genetics, pharmacy and research related fields, too.   Sometimes the impact you can have on something like cancer can be indirect but very, very powerful.   If sciences are your some exploring there.   Caregiving professions are much in demand, but so are those that tackle the tough investigative issues.

    While you are in school, be sure to visit the career counselors that your school probably employs to assist students determine majors or study and life plans.  They can administer some vocational assessments that may also guide you.

    And, do keep volunteering and talking to those who work in fields that interest you.  Sometimes the best career coaching you can get is that which comes from people who have been there.

    Best of luck to you in this exciting stage of discovery!

    Kathy, Career Coach

  • Jamie A.

    Jamie A. on Apr 7, 2013

    Hey im,a college student thats interested in,studying cancer or something like radation therapist.what should i study if i want To do cancer research?” Can someone give me ideas i can take To mind?

  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Apr 8, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately this isn't our area of expertise, so we don't have a list of schools or programs that we can share with you. We would recommend searching for schools in the country that have strong programs in nursing (specifically oncology nursing) and pre-med programs.

    I hope that this is helpful and please let me know if you have any other questions.


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Program Coordinator

  • Marcia D.

    Marcia D. on Apr 21, 2013

    Hi there,

    I would like t know how a battling cancer patient comes about on continuing to work during the second half of treatment. I have been doing job interviews, sending resumes to every possible open job. I have an excellent resume with hands-on experience on what I do for a living (prior to cancer) and I have done all job interviews possible, recently, and receive praising on my career experience, but did not get the job....any of them. I need to continue to work ( and make money, buy food, pay rent (about to become homeless), pay hospital bills, etc). It seems no one cares, no one helps and no one employs even the patient who is striving on its treatment. How do I keep going with my life, financially, after I finish my treatment???Which financial Institution would help me with housing and food assistance until I get myself back to the work force? I need help!! I do not want (and cannot) become homeless while sick and in treatment for ovarian cancer!!! Please, help me!!!!

  • Colby C.

    Colby C. on Jun 17, 2013

    Did you ever find out what type of job this may be considered or what kind of schooling you would need for it? I want to do the same exact thing, so let me know what you did (:

  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Jun 26, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Marcia,

    I apologize for the extremely delayed response, we've been experiencing technical difficulties with this section of our website and I just saw your post. I have sent it off to one of our career coaches who will be in touch soon.

    In the meantime, I would recommend reading the Financial Assistance for Those In Need section of our website, if you haven't already:

    There are a number of resources listed there that may be of help to you. For food assistance I would recommend contacting your local Meals on Wheels ( and see if they deliver meals to cancer patients.

    I hope that this is helpful. 


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Program Coordinator

  • Judi Swedek

    Judi Swedek on Jun 27, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Marcia,

    I understand your frustration. It sounds like you have been very active in your job search, but not getting the results you need and want. Let me make a couple of suggestions.

    Since you have gotten a few interviews and received praise on your experience and expertise, but not been able to close the deal, you may want to see if you can circle back around with the company for some feedback if at all possible. Some times, depending upon your relationship with the recruiter, they are willing and open to giving you feedback. Also, conduct a mock interview session with a friend or former colleague and ask for feedback. This will give you another pair of eyes into what your interviewing persona is and how you are presenting yourself. Study some sample interview questions and make sure you prepare your responses in advance always trying to focus in on your accomplishments and the benefits you bring to the hiring organization.

    You haven't mentioned networking, and if you're not doing it already, I'd encourage you to look for opportunities to do so. Look for networking groups and also reach out to friends and former colleagues to let them know you are looking. It's said that 70-80% of jobs are found via the majority of your time and effort should be spent there.

    I hope this helps...good luck to you and let us know how things are progressing.

    Kind regards,


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