Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing – but can simultaneously be stressful due to planning and preparation. Preparing for a holiday vacation can be stressful enough for most people, but if you’re fighting cancer, traveling can be even more challenging as it requires a bit more preparation.
It can be difficult for patients undergoing cancer treatment to travel long distances or even within their state, especially during the busy Christmas travel season. However, just because a patient has been diagnosed and is undergoing treatment doesn’t mean that travel is impossible. People undergoing cancer treatment can still travel to see friends and family for the holidays and throughout the year if they take a few precautions and plan ahead. Here are travel tips for those battling cancer during the holidays:
Consult with your care team
Make sure your doctor signs off on your travel plans before booking tickets or making reservations. Your medical team may not recommend taking a plane because of high altitudes, which affect oxygen levels and low air pressure and may be dangerous for you. Fluctuations in air pressure can also increase the risk of swelling; your doctor may allow you to fly, but as a precaution, they may recommend wearing compression garments. In many cases, treatment sessions can be scheduled around vacation time. If your care team gives you the go-ahead, request a letter or a note from your most recent appointment to ensure you have a record of your diagnosis and current treatment plan.
Research your destination
Do your research about your destination, paying particular attention to the season, climate, public transportation, and nearby hospitals and pharmacies. Understand how public transportation works in the places you visit so you don’t wear your body down. It’s also important to have access to hospitals and pharmacies just in case you have a medical need or lose your medication. If you’re traveling out of the state, it helps to contact your insurance company to compile a list of centers in case there’s an emergency.
Apart from packing your medication, don’t forget to pack your medical records and copies of your prescriptions. They will come in handy if you suddenly need to visit a clinic or lose your medication. If your immune system is weakened, consider wearing an N95 medical mask during your travels. Carry hand sanitizer and be prepared to disinfect the surfaces you come into contact with. Some cancer treatments can make you more sensitive to the sun and heat. So, don’t forget your sunscreen.
Be self-aware and diligent
Paying attention to your body will be important. Keep hydrated by drinking water regularly and wash your hands often. Have fun but don’t ignore the signs that you’re overdoing it. Don’t be afraid to let travel coordinators, such as the airlines or tour guides, know about your condition so they help make the journey easier.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about holiday travel tips when you have cancer.