Cancer doesn’t have to effect where and how you travel, but sometimes there may be a few extra things you need think about. After treatment, your physical needs may have changed and things that your normally would have taken for granted when travelling previously now need to be at the forefront of your mind. Your skin may be more sensitive to the sun after radiotherapy or after taking certain drugs so your weekly long sun lounging trip to Thailand may need to be changed…

We’ve put together a few things to consider if you are thinking about booking a holiday.

When to travel

You need to check when is the best time to travel, as there may be certain times you shouldn’t travel at all. It is a great idea to check with either your doctor or nurse about the best time to travel for you. There might be time limitations on when you can travel post-surgery or after your radio or chemotherapy has ended.

Planning your journey

Some types of cancer and their treatments can increase an individuals risk of developing a blood clot. Therefore, sitting still for an extended period can increase the risk. This does not only apply to flying, but also travelling by car, train or bus. Before planning your holiday, it’s important to think about how long it will take you to travel, regardless of how you are travelling and whether the journey will be comfortable.

An important thing to consider, if you are travelling by plane and require oxygen. Allow plenty of time to organise this with the airline as this can take some time and needs to be sorted out in advance.

Take care

Without taking the fun out of your holiday, try to be careful with what you eat and drink. It is common for infectious diseases to spread through contaminated water and food. After surgery or radio or chemotherapy it is likely your immune system will be compromised, opening you up to more risk of infection. If you are unsure about whether the water is safe to drink, it’s best to stick to bottled water.

It is also common in some countries for disease to be spread by animals, especially insects. Ensure your legs and arms are covered when you can, and a reputable insect repellent has been used. If you do get bitten, for piece of mind see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you are in a hot country, take care when out and about in the sun. Protecting your skin is important for everyone, but more so if you are undergoing or have undergone cancer treatment. Ensure you are always wearing and reapplying a high factor sun protection cream. Try to avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at it’s hottest. If you have previously had radiotherapy, ensure that the affected area is covered.

Find the right insurance

Regardless of your situation, travel insurance is essential for anyone planning a holiday. It’s important to ensure you are covered for cancellation, curtailment, lose of luggage etc. But most importantly have cover if you need medical attention whilst away, or even need to be flown home. Some insurers are reluctant to cover pre-existing medical conditions because you are more likely to make a claim or cancel your holiday.

There are a number of specialists firms who provide comprehensive cancer travel insurance policies, who are happy to insure pre-existing medical conditions for a higher premium. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions around your diagnosis, the stage and grad as well as your prognosis. It is a good idea to have all this information to hand before starting the process to reduce any distress this may cause. You may also be required to provide a letter from your doctor or medical practitioner declaring you fit to travel.

Although travelling with or after cancer may seem hard, it is still worth it. For more tips on travelling please click here.




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