Ask your doctor about the side effects of travelling in your condition and vaccinations you need. Get prior permission to carry prescription drugs on the flight. Sea travellers must carry motion sickness tablets. Account for time differences when taking medication. Plan your stay near a hospital or pharmacy. Take time to de-stress, but don’t neglect symptoms that need attention.
Cancer and its treatments can affect your ability to travel. However, there is nothing stopping you from an ethical point of view from travelling if you feel up to it. Indeed, there are also no laws to stop you from traveling if you are unwell.
So our advice to you is to do what makes you happy – but to also consider your health and the effects cancer will have on your body, and to follow the advice of your doctor.
Things To Consider When Travelling With Cancer
Travelling can be fun and fulfilling. However, it can also be arduous and especially so for somebody with a cancer diagnosis. So, our first piece of advice to you to is to understand exactly how cancer can affect the human body. The NHS has fantastic advice to help you with this. We also recommend that you consider the following:
It is against the law to carry containers with liquids, gels or creams that exceed 100ml in your hand luggage. You can carry a prescription over 100ml, but only with prior approval from the airline and airport and a letter from your doctor. The letter itself should state what the medication is for and list any other medical items required for your treatment.
Your doctor may also advise against air travel if you are suffering from a shortness of breath, are anaemic, at risk of brain swelling or you had recent surgery. Some people with cancer are also a greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the legs.
Another tip we have is to alert the airline of your treatment if they are unaware. We recommend this, because some airlines have been known to react disproportionately to the news that a passenger has cancer.
An example of this being Alaska Airlines, who are reported to have forcibly removed a passenger from a plane last year after she reported feeling a little “weak” due to her cancer. This particular story gained national news coverage. Alaska Airlines eventually backtracked when this happened and offered a full apology to the woman, although it has still set an unfortunate precedent for future flights.
Travelling By Sea
If you are going to travel to your destination by sea or you are going on a cruise holiday, it is always a good idea to take motion sickness tablets. Some people with cancer are at a higher risk of developing motion sickness and some people have been known to develop motion sickness for the first time in their life because of their cancer.
Depending on where in the world you are travelling to, you may or may not need travel vaccinations. Common vaccinations include those for typhoid fever and diphtheria. These vaccinations may not be safe for you so check this with your doctor.
You may also need a special vaccination depending on where your cancer is. For example, patients with cancer of the spleen are advised to have pneumonia and meningitis vaccinations by Macmillan.1
Taking Your Medicines With You
It is absolutely essential to your health that you take enough medicines with you. Tablets can be stored in a suitcase and medicines that need to be kept cool can be placed in a small cool bag which you can buy from a pharmacy.
It’s also advisable to keep an itinerary of your medicines and to account for any differences in time zones to ensure your dosages are right.
Health Services At Your Destination
An important consideration should be made with regards to the health infrastructure of the country you are visiting. Ideally, your final destination will be close to a hospital or a surgery just in case.
It is also helpful to be close to a pharmacy, although to make use of an overseas pharmacy you will need a note from your doctor stating your condition and medicines.
Planning Your Trip
Providing you are happy with the information above, having cancer should not detract from the excitement of planning your trip. However, we do recommend planning your trip well in advance to make the process as smooth as possible. Here’s some advice:
If you want to go on an all-inclusive break, the best place to start your search is with a reputable travel company.
All-inclusive holidays are ideal for those of you whose cancer affects your ability to be mobile. Such trips also commonly include transfers from the airport so really, you won’t have to worry about anything.
The importance of travel insurance cannot be overstated and thankfully, getting a good and comprehensive policy is easy whether you have cancer or not.
We recommend you start your search for travel insurance on a price comparison website first of all. Most insurance providers will give you a policy providing you have a note from your doctor stating that you are fit to travel. However, some insurers will see you as a higher risk and charge you more.
The most important takeaway we want you to have from this article is to enjoy your trip; after all, the whole point of getting away is to let your hair down and enjoy yourself!
But, you should also pay close attention to your symptoms. Cancer is a debilitating disease which can affect all of us in many different ways. If you do experience any symptoms, you should seek immediate emergency advice and you should always follow the advice of your doctor.
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|1.||↑||Vaccinations And Immunisations, We Are Macmillan Cancer Support|