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Can I travel abroad if I have breast cancer?

For most people booking the annual foreign holiday can be an exciting time. The thought of clear blue skies, sunshine from morning to dusk, warm shallow waves gently lapping at the shore, morning walks along the beach and endless time to take it easy are what holidays are all about. However if you have breast cancer, the thought of travelling abroad may be a concern to you.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or consultant first about your travel plans as it may affect your medical treatment. They may be able to suggest when is good for you to travel and they will also confirm if you fit to travel.

Think about how you are feeling, this may seem like a strange thing to say but your condition or cancer treatment may make you feel off colour and cloud your judgement. Think about how you feel on a ‘good day’ before confirming your travel plans. Remember some treatments like radiotherapy can make you more sensitive to the sun and you will need to wear a high factor sun screen and if you are worried by this, why not think about a city break instead of a beach holiday.

These things shouldn’t stop you from travelling the world and having a memorable holiday however, you may need to think more carefully about your holiday destination and what sort of excursions you do while you’re away. It can be very easy to get carried along with the excitement of a holiday however you need to know your limitations so you can get the most out of your trip.

As soon as you have finalised your travel plans and have paid the holiday deposit, the next job is to make sure you have sufficient travel insurance to cover your medical condition. Some people will have difficulty getting travel insurance after a new diagnosis of breast cancer, especially if you choose a standard travel policy. For some people it can be frustrating even exhausting at times and may make you feel that you’re being penalised for something beyond your control.

Specialist travel insurance providers such as Free Spirit are different in that they can usually provide cover for most medical conditions including breast cancer. In case you are worried about the cost of emergency medical treatment abroad should you become unwell because of your breast cancer, getting the right insurance cover in place before you travel, will help you to put your mind at ease and allow you to get on and enjoy your holiday.

Travelling abroad with a medical condition means you have to take a whole load of other things with you and not just your swim suit. Always pack enough medicine for your whole stay and a bit extra in case of delays or emergencies. Your outbound flight may leave on time but can you guarantee in advance that your departure flight won’t be delayed.

If you have a medical emergency while abroad, you may need to stay in hospital for a short time and the country you are visiting may not be able to provide you with the same type of medication. Ask your doctor for a letter saying what your medicines are for. If you are visiting a country where you can’t speak the language, why not get the doctors letter translated to avoid any confusion and unnecessary delays. If you’re travelling to a different time zone, ask your doctor to help you plan a medicine routine that fits in with the new local time.

If you have a prosthesis you may be concerned about passing through the security body scanners in the airport but don’t be too concerned, as most scanners don’t pick up silicone gel. It is also safe to fly with them as aircraft cabins are pressurised, however it you pack your prosthesis in your hold baggage, don’t be worried if you see small air bubbles in them when you unpack your bags as the hold is not pressurised. The bubbles will disappear after a short time and will not harm your prosthesis.

Other things to think about are vaccinations, do you need any and if you do can you have them in conjunction with any treatment you are receiving. It may be worth consulting with your doctor before ordering any expensive vaccinations just in case!

Whether you are travelling abroad to visit family, catching up with old friends or even taking the grandchildren on a family beach holiday, these special times should be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, health or ability. Having a break away from the everyday cycle can do you the world of good, not just for your physical wellbeing but also your mental strength to help you endure the trials and tribulations that medical conditions bring upon you.

Remember, advance planning is crucial to a peace of mind foreign adventure. Don’t let your breast cancer get in the way of making holiday memories.

Have a look of our Free Spirit Cancer Insurance to see what cover is available.