Travelling Abroad with Cancer

Sun, sand and sea are the perfect ingredients to a relaxing holiday. Suffering from cancer shouldn't stop you from enjoying your travels, though it can make holidays more challenging. The type of cancer you have, the stage of your illness and the treatment you are receiving can affect your travel plans.

So as a cancer patient, what should you consider before you travel?

  • Discuss your travel plans with your cancer doctor - they will know if you are fit to travel
  • Get suitable travel insurance - specialises in providing tailored travel insurance for those with medical conditions. Make sure you state that you have cancer when you book.
  • Consult your doctor about travel vaccinations. During chemotherapy, or six months after treatment, your immune system will be weak. During this time you cannot receive vaccines for the following diseases:
    • Measles
    • Rubella
    • MMR (triple vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
    • BCG (Tuberculosis)
    • Yellow fever
    • Oral typhoid
  • If you have been receiving radiotherapy, your skin might be more sensitive to the sun, so take extra care - apply sunscreen, wear a hat and avoid the hottest parts of the day
  • If you have recently undergone surgery, you might not be able to fly - ask your doctor for more information
  • You could be more prone to blood clots as a cancer patient so it's best to avoid long journeys
  • Chemotherapy can leave you feeling tired, so ensure the facilities in your chosen resort are in close proximity to one another
  • Carry enough medication to last your whole trip, plus spares in the event of flight delays. Store all medication in its original packaging and accompany it with a letter from your doctor
  • If you are travelling for longer than three months, check that the country you are visiting supplies the medication you will need, as there is a limit to the amount your doctor can prescribe
  • If you require oxygen, find out if you need to make special arrangements for your journey

Travelling abroad can be the adventure of a lifetime and having cancer shouldn't stop you from enjoying your holiday.