Whether you’re travelling after having completely finished chemotherapy or have a break in your treatment, always speak to your doctor or specialist before booking a trip to check that you’re fit to travel.
Once you have been declared fit to travel, your treatment should not affect the way you travel, but there may be some important things to think about before you go.
Preparation is key
Organise your trip at least six weeks before you want to travel, this way you’ll have plenty of time to decide on a destination and set a plan in place. Think about where you’d like to go and how far you’d feel comfortable travelling. It can take a few months to be feeling more like you after having chemotherapy so don’t try to overexert yourself.
You may want to consider the health care available in the country you’re choosing to visit. If you’re visiting somewhere within Europe you’ll be entitled to an EHIC which is a European Health Insurance Card. This will entitle you to the same level of medical cover as the residents in the country you’re visiting however this is not an alternative to travel insurance so be sure to purchase a medical travel insurance policy to ensure you’re fully covered should you need medical treatment while abroad.
Flying long haul can be exhausting for those in full health, let alone someone going through or having just finished chemotherapy, so think carefully about how long you’ll have to be travelling for when you choose your destination. Longer flights increase the risk of DVT and if you’ve just completed a cancer treatment you could be at a higher risk of this. To avoid it, practice gentle exercises by circling your ankles and stretching your legs during the flight.
If you are having chemotherapy or have had it in the last 6 months, you should not have any live vaccines. Your immune system will be weakened and the vaccines contain a small amount of the live bacteria which could be harmful to a weakened immune system. If you have chosen to go to a destination where vaccinations are required, check with your doctor before you go ahead with anything.
If you are taking prescribed medication you will need to visit your doctor to make sure you have enough supplies for your trip, plus some extra in case of any delays.
Staying healthy while abroad
To ensure you continue to feel better while you’re on holiday always drink bottled water. Tap water can cause sickness and diarrhoea which is the last thing you want when trying to get away to relax. Drink enough bottled water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated, if you’re out and about be aware of the heat and stay out of the sun during its peak hours – 11am-3pm.
Eat fresh whole foods while you’re away and avoid anything processed. Make sure all meats and fish are thoroughly cooked so you avoid the risk of food poisoning.
Finally, enjoy your holiday. Travelling after chemotherapy doesn’t have to be difficult just be aware of how you feel, try not to overexert yourself and take it as a chance to relax and rejuvenate.