photo cred Fabe Gin

Christabel K. Cheung, PhD, MSW, is a scholar, writer and cancer gangster. Dr. Cheung is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and member of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research interests in psychosocial oncology are primarily focused on adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients in the domains of financial hardship, social determinants of health, disparities, embodied research methods, and antiracist patient engagement in the conduct of research.

In pursuit of her scientific interests, she has led research projects as principal investigator and co-principal investigator, and contributed to numerous cancer care optimization, patient education, and advocacy initiatives aimed at improving health and behavioral health outcomes. Other research activities include participation as faculty affiliate at AYA CAncer REsearch (AYA CARE), the research arm of the AYA Oncology Program at Michigan Medicine, member of the MELD Research Group for the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program at the University of Southern California, and collaborating member at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, where she was previously special member of their Minority Underserved National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Program (NCORP). Dr. Cheung contributes as teaching faculty for the NCI-funded Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research (MTPCCR) and the NCI-funded Nathan Schnaper Internship Program (NSIP) in Translational Cancer Research. She has also previously served as AYA Patient Research Advocate for the NCI-funded SWOG Cancer Research Network, aimed at designing and conducting multidisciplinary cancer clinical trials.

Dr. Cheung’s prior experience in academia includes serving as lecturer/field consultant on the field education faculty at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. She holds eight years of previous experience in social work practice, last serving as executive director of San Francisco Village, a nonprofit organization within the national village movement for aging-in-place. As an ardent patient advocate and two-time cancer survivor (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), Dr. Cheung is recognized for writing one of the first cancer blogs focused on racially minoritized young adult patients, – which she is expanding into a book.

She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia, a Master of Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Social Welfare from University of California, Los Angeles.


Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Cheung, C. K., Norlander, M. G., Vest, A. N., Thomas, B. N. & Zebrack, B. J. (2021). A thin line between helpful and harmful Internet usage: Embodied research on Internet experiences among adolescent and young adult cancer patients. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.

  • Husson, O., Reeve, B. R., Darlington, A. S., Cheung, C. K., Sodergren, S., van der Graaf, W., & Salsman, J. M. (2021). The next step for global adolescent and young adult oncology: Development of a core patient-centered outcome set. Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

  • Cheung, C. K., Tucker-Seeley, R., Davies, S., Gilman, M., Miller, K. A., Lopes, G., Betz, G. D., Katerere-Virima, T., Helbling, L. E., Thomas, B. N., & Lewis, M. A. (2021). A call to action: Antiracist patient engagement in adolescent and young adult oncology research and advocacy. Future Oncology, 17(28), 3743–3756.

  • Cheung, C. K., Nishimoto, P. W., Katerere-Virima, T., Helbling, L. E., Thomas, B. N., & Tucker-Seeley, R. (2021). Capturing the financial hardship of cancer in military adolescent and young adult patients: A conceptual framework. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 1–18.

  • Cheung, C. K. & Simmons, C. D. (2021). Centering black swans: Embodied research in adolescent and young adult oncology. Oppositional Conversations. (5)

  • Unger, J. M., Moseley, A. B., Cheung, C. K., Osarogiagbon, R. U., Symington, B., Ramsey, S. D., & Hershman, D. L. (2021). Persistent disparity: Socioeconomic deprivation and cancer outcomes in patients treated in clinical trials. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 39(12), 1339–1348.

  • Salsman, J. M., Danhauer, S. C., Moore, J. B., Ip, E. H., McLouth, L. E., Nightingale, C. L., Cheung, C. K., Bingen, K. M., Tucker‐Seeley, R. D., Little‐Greene, D., Howard, D. S., & Reeve, B. B. (2021). Systematic review of financial burden assessment in cancer: Evaluation of measures and utility among adolescents and young adults and caregivers. Cancer, 127(11), 1739–1748.

  • Cheung, C. K., Acquati, C., Smith, E., Katerere-Virima, T., and Helbling, L. (2020). The impact of a cancer diagnosis on sibling relationships from childhood through young adulthood: A systematic review. Journal of Family Social Work. 23(4), 357-377.

  • Cheung, C. K. (2018). “Young cancer patients as future leaders in the global knowledge economy.” Cancer Therapy and Oncology International Journal. 10(4).

Book Chapters

  • Cheung, C.K., Santacroce, S. J., Zebrack, B.J. (2021). Adolescent and young adult patients. In W. Breitbart (Ed.) Psycho-oncology (4th). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Cheung, C.K. & Wiener, L. (2022) (in press). Adolescents and young adults living with serious illness. In T. Altilio, S. Otis-Green & J. Cagle (Eds.) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work (2nd). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Public Scholarship