Travel insurance for those with cancer
If you have cancer or are in remission, a holiday abroad could give you the rest and relaxation needed to recharge your batteries. Whether you plan on travelling solo or with family and friends, it’s important you have specialist medical travel insurance to cover your trip.
If you become ill while abroad, require treatment, or even have to be brought back home, this can be expensive. Not to mention extremely stressful both for you and your travelling party.
Some cancer patients find it difficult to purchase travel insurance to cover cancer – even if you’re in remission – but AllClear may be able to help you. We specialise in medical travel insurance and we can provide single or annual multi-trip cover.
Do I still need medical travel insurance if I have recovered from cancer?
Even if you are officially in remission, it could still be difficult to find the right policy and you may even still require specialist medical travel insurance.
You should always be open and truthful about your medical history. Failure to disclose any relevant details could lead to an insurer refusing to pay a claim.
Tips for travelling with cancer
Speak to a medical professional
Your GP should be able to advise on the best time to head off for a holiday, perhaps because of a gap in cancer treatment or before chemotherapy is due to start.
They can also discuss how you’re likely to feel at the time and advise against countries that may not be suitable for your needs.
Time differences can affect when you need to take your medication, so you will need to plan when you’ll need to take your medication to ensure you won’t be left feeling unwell. Your doctor will be able to help you with this if you’re unsure of time differences. You may also need a letter from your doctor advising your tour operator that you are fit for travel. Speak to them well in advance before you plan to go on holiday.
Deciding on your destination
Stopovers for long-haul flights can be uncomfortable, so if you feel you can’t manage a long journey, stick to shorter flights of a few hours – remember, time travelling abroad is one thing, but airport security checks and waiting times can add hours to an already extensive journey.
If English isn’t widely spoken in the country you choose to visit, ensure you have any important documents translated. Travel agents may be able to discuss practical issues, such as the distance between your hotel’s reception desk and the room, and can suggest hotels that are on level ground if you have difficulty walking.
Timing your travels around your cancer
If you are undergoing, have recently completed, or are scheduled to start certain treatments, e.g. chemotherapy, you may need to plan your trip around this.
Radiotherapy can be planned ahead of your trip and the treatment can commence upon your return. This shouldn’t necessarily delay your treatment because there is usually a week or so gap between the planning and the start.
Be aware of any complimentary/alternative therapies offered to you while you are abroad. Herbal remedies may contain ingredients that react with your prescribed medication. Check with your cancer specialist before you travel.
Flying if you are a cancer patient
It’s a good idea to check with your airline what medical equipment is allowed on board the plane. You will need to know well in advance if your airline has the expertise or facilities to care for you if you are seriously ill.
Medicine and travelling abroad
If you are taking a trip abroad, planning your cancer medication is an important task to undertake to ensure you’re prepared for your trip.
- Check with the embassies of the countries you are visiting to ensure the medicines are legal in their country.
- Keep all medicines in their original packaging.
- Carry your prescription with you.
- Keep a list of all of your medicines and doses to cover you if you lose any of them or run out.
- Take a letter from your doctor explaining to customs officers that you need to carry certain medicines.
Taking care in the sun
If you have undergone chemotherapy or radiotherapy, you may be more sensitive to the direct effects of the sun. High-factor sun block (SPF 30 or over) is recommended, as is wearing loose, cotton clothing. In all cases it’s best to follow the advice of your cancer specialist.
Vaccinations and live vaccines
When choosing your destination, always check with your cancer specialist that you’re able to have the vaccination if there is one required for entering your chosen country. Live vaccines are best avoided in patients who have a weakened immune system (this includes lymphoma, leukaemia, chemotherapy within previous 6 months; stem cell/bone marrow transplant within previous 6 months). If you have had chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant, it is possible that you may have lost your immunity to diseases that you were previously vaccinated for. Therefore, you should check with your doctor whether you will need to have new jabs.