How cancer treatment can affect travel
Cancer treatments may cause short-term physical problems, and occasionally long-term problems, which you might need to consider when you're travelling.
Common treatments for cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. Treatment may be aimed at curing a cancer or at controlling its symptoms for as long as possible, to improve quality of life.
Cancer treatments may cause short-term physical problems, such as sickness, diarrhoea or sensitivity to the sun. Occasionally, treatments can cause long-term physical problems, such as lymphoedema.
Some treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can cause extreme tiredness (fatigue) both during and after treatment. Tiredness may limit the travelling you can do or the amount of activity you can manage while you’re away.
How surgery can affect travel
Back to top
Some types of surgery for cancer may cause permanent changes to the body. For example:
Treatment for cancer of the colon can include removal of part of the bowel and the creation of an ileostomy or colostomy. This won’t stop you from travelling, but you will have to think your trip through carefully. Most hospitals have specially trained nurses, called stoma care nurses, who can help you after your treatment. They can give you advice about travel insurance, certificates, supplies and any dietary issues you may have while you’re away.
Breast cancer treatment may involve the removal of a breast (mastectomy). This shouldn’t affect your ability to travel, but if you want to find organisations that supply bras, swimsuits and holiday wear for women who’ve had a mastectomy, our cancer support specialists can help.
If you’ve had any type of surgery or have any physical condition that could affect your ability to travel, there are many organisations that offer help and support. You can try searching our database of helpful organisations.
Travelling during treatment
Back to top
It may be possible to have a holiday while you’re still in the middle of treatment – for example, between courses of treatment. In this situation, it’s very important to discuss your treatment with your doctor beforehand. Your doctor can help you plan the best time for your holiday to ensure it doesn’t interrupt your treatment. You can take this opportunity to talk through any possible problems and how to deal with them if they occur.
You may only want to travel within the UK during your treatment and for some time afterwards, because it may be difficult to get insurance for a holiday abroad at this time.