Home Health Traveling with Cancer: Tips, Safety, and Precautions

Traveling with Cancer: Tips, Safety, and Precautions

by Wilma Lucas

Recent studies have shown that traveling is still the most popular thing people add to their bucket lists. There are a lot of destinations to visit, new activities to try, and so much more, as the travel industry becomes as large as it is today.

Traveling is the kind of break that you need when you are fighting cancer. Before you start planning your next trip, however, there are a few essential things you need to know first, and we are going to review them in this article.

Consult Your Doctor

Make sure you consult the doctor treating you before making any travel arrangements. While you may feel healthy enough to visit new cities or have fun at a beach resort, you still need to know whether traveling is right for you.

You can use the opportunity to ask for more information on how you can stay safe during the trip. Here you can get additional information on what to do when you feel ill or if a vaccination is needed.

Learn About the Destination

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It would be best if you got informed about your destination. Remember that some cancer treatments weaken your immune system and may leave your body exposed, which is why you want to travel to safe destinations.

Vaccinations are often required. Find information about the common health issues found at the destination before deciding which treatments to get. Once again, check with your doctor before agreeing to shots.

Get Your Documents in Order

Travel insurance, health insurance, travel documents, and other supporting papers must be within reach at all times. You must have access to your medical records, too, just in case you run into emergencies while traveling.

Insurance companies now turn to service providers like American Retrieval Company to retrieve medical records of their clients. That allows insurance companies to get the information they need for the quick and accurate claim processing.

Choose the Right Timing

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Cancer patients have frequent ups and downs, especially during specific treatments like chemo. You want to travel when you feel better and have the strength to enjoy the trip; timing is everything indeed.

Fortunately, the cycles can be predicted, and you can plan your trip around your ups. If it’s a short trip, you will be back home by the time you start the cycle all over again. If it’s a more extended trip, consider temporary remedies and oral medications.

Check the medication Regulations

You should also check the medication regulations at the destination country or city before traveling with your meds. Some meds – including alternative ones such as CBD oil – are classified as forbidden, and the penalty for bringing such medications into the country is severe.

It is convenient to bring an additional amount of the medication as a precaution), antibiotics to protect you from possible infections if you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, and any other type of medication to relieve symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or pain.

Ask For a Written Diagnosis

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Ask for a letter detailing your diagnosis, the type of treatment you receive, and the medications you take, in case you need emergency help during the trip.

Pre-trip Procedures

Check if you need vaccinations or other measures before your departure.

Medical Insurance

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Check with your medical insurance if you have coverage outside your area if it is a domestic trip, under what conditions, and if it covers you abroad.

If you need controlled-use medications, such as morphine or codeine, and you plan to travel outside the country, call the embassy of the destination country to find out if their use is legal there, as many of these medications are restricted.

Carry all your medications in their original containers. If you travel by plane, take them in a transparent plastic bag, along with your medical letter, to make it easier for you to go through security checks. Take them with you as part of your luggage. If you lose your suitcase, you will not lack the medications until you recover it.

Don’t forget to take your medical insurance card, phone numbers from your doctor, hospital, or oncology nurse with you in case you or the medical staff at the destination need to contact them.

Bring Protection Mask

Bring masks with you to protect yourself in airports, airplane cabins, and other places where you can be in contact with many people and be at higher risk of getting infections.

Sunscreen is necessary

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Remember to pack and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Some medications increase the sensitivity to the sun, so avoid overexposing yourself to it. In addition to the cream, consider wearing scarves, caps, or hats, as well as baggy and long-sleeved clothes to better protect you.

Bring Compression Sleeve

If you have had a mastectomy and nodes were removed in your armpit, remember to use your compression sleeve on the arm/arms to relieve inflammation and pain caused by lymphedema (especially in the airplane cabin). Avoid carrying a lot of weight on the side of the mastectomy. What’s more, travel with a piece of luggage as light as possible.

When you must stay at home and wait a little longer

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Your health comes first, and some circumstances prevent you from taking a trip, especially a long one by plane, or to a place where you cannot receive emergency medical help. Again, it is your oncologist who must have the last word. It is generally not recommended that you travel without your consent and supervision if you have had recent surgery. That can be if you have received a bone marrow transplant in the last 6 to 12 months if your platelet level is low or you feel that you frequently lack the air.

In case of the surgery: consult with the surgeon about your plans. It is advisable to travel by plane. Usually, you can fly once you can do your daily activities without problems, you can fly, but sometimes, you have to wait a specific time. In some eye procedures, you need to wait for 2 to 6 weeks before the flight. In the case of surgery on the abdomen, the chest (the lungs), or the brain, you must wait at least ten days until the air that could have been trapped in the body dissolves. If you take a plane before this time, the pressure inside the plane’s cabin can expand the gases and create pressure inside the body, causing pain.

If your platelet level is low (thrombocytopenia): platelets are the component of blood that is responsible for coagulation. When the levels are low, you have a higher risk of bleeding and bleeding. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, tend to reduce the concentration of platelets. Trips are not recommended when platelet levels are below 40,000 cubic ml of blood.
If you have shortness of breath: both cancer and treatments can make breathing difficult. Many patients need additional oxygen, especially in the cabins of an airplane. If your doctor approves the trip, call the airline to confirm that oxygen service is available and if you have an additional charge. Also, request wheelchair service so that you get tired as little as possible.

Cancer does not have to limit your life if your health allows it. Traveling with cancer is possible, but you must take the necessary precautions. The American Cancer Society recommends the following during the trip: eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, and stay active (but without making excessive efforts). In all cases, your oncologist must have the last word. Follow their recommendations to the letter, even if you must postpone the trip for a better opportunity.

That’s it! Aside from some extra precautions and tips and tricks we covered here, there is no reason to worry. As a cancer patient, you can travel to the best destinations and have a lot of fun.

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