A cancer diagnosis will probably not prevent you from traveling, but it can sometimes complicate matters. Here are some helpful tips from Moffitt Cancer Center on how you can make the process of getting from point A to point B a little bit easier:
- If your plans include air travel, check with your physician to confirm that it is safe for you to fly. For some people, the changes in air pressure and oxygen levels that occur at high altitudes can be dangerous and possibly even life-threatening.
- Review your health insurance policy to determine your out-of-town coverage. You might want to find a health care provider as well as an urgent care center and emergency room located close to where you’ll be, just in case you should need immediate medical attention while you’re away.
- Create a comprehensive summary of your medical information and keep it with you at all times. Ask your physician to write down your specific diagnosis, allergies, medication instructions and other treatment information. If you will be crossing time zones, be sure to find out whether this will affect your medication schedule. Add your emergency contact information to the list and provide a copy to a traveling companion (if you have one).
- Pack your medications in a carry-on bag. Keep all drugs in their original containers, and if you need syringes, ask your physician to write an explanatory note regarding their medical necessity. You may be required to produce these items for customs officials. Also, you might want to bring an extra supply of medications, just in case you encounter a delay in getting home.
- Take steps to prevent lymphedema (leg swelling) and deep vein thrombosis. Try to get up and walk around as much as possible – at least once every hour – during your journey (sitting in an aisle seat can make this easier). Dress in loose, comfortable clothing and, if recommended by your physician, wear a special compression garment.
- Allow yourself plenty of time. Travel can be exhausting under even the best circumstances, and the inevitable delays can raise anyone’s stress level through the roof. Be a little more cautious than you normally would, and try your best to stay calm so that you can focus your energy on what’s most important – getting better.
If you’re living with cancer and would like to discuss your travel plans with an expert at Moffitt, you are welcome to contact us by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral.