Travel Tips from our Cancer Forums

Travel Tips from our Cancer Forums

The neck pillows, the duty-free attendants waiting to spray you in the latest cologne or perfume, using your passport as a fan and the extortionate in-flight meal price. It seems like it’s that time again. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go abroad, a quiet break a few towns away is just as good to replenish and recharge. As we approach the tail-end of Summer, we take a look on the Community at how our lovely members provide their experiences to help others to try and have the best trip they can.

Every person’s definition of holiday is different. You can go biking in a national park on a quaint family holiday, you can relax by the swimming pool at a hotel in Thailand or even explore some affordable staycations. Whatever the plan is, you can look to the Community for some summer holiday ideas.

It can be a difficult time for those that have a diagnosis when it comes to travelling. Going abroad is often a stressful experience on a normal day, but today we are going to soar through the Community at an altitude where you can see members reaching out providing their experiences on how to make the journey as comfortable as possible, until we arrive at our destination, where you have the confidence to book yourself a break with those you cherish.

Please note, any websites mentioned by Community members, have no affiliation to Macmillan. The websites are included to provide context on the conversations taking place on the Community.

Knowing how difficult it can be to get insurance with a diagnosis, members pool their resources to try and help those going through a similar experience:

“I just wanted to share this with you if your looking for holiday insurance. I have found an excellent quote from Insurancewith.com. It was straightforward asked reasonable questions about my diagnosis ect and was amazed at the price. £69 for a single trip cover to Europe.”

Online Community Member, Lung Cancer forum

This prompt came in handy for another member:

“Thanks for the tip. Just quoted £98 for 8 nights, Portugal, October for self, prostate stage 3 + heart meds and wife, asthma. So not too bad, I think”

Online Community Member, Lung Cancer forum

Due to the popularity of discussing all aspects of travel such as insurance, flights and general tips, this member started a thread for all other members to add on as they go along:

“I’ve been searching for tips on travelling and have gained lots of advice in different posts. I have found one here four years ago but it’s pre-Covid  

So I thought it’d be really great to make it an easy reference point for us all and for future travellers.

I used to ferry to Ireland twice a year. It’s a ten hour door to door for me to see my son in Tipperary. Also I travelled to Spain to see my brother twice a year its a shorter time but scary fly situation. I’ve read that bags can explode!!

Please can you add your experiences ,advice and tips. With many thanks" 

Online Community Member, Ileostomy, colostomy and stoma support forum

 Members reach out and respond in this forum as well as reach out for support from others. It can be an overwhelming experience especially after going through various treatments:

“Thank you for your kind words. I have always been determined not to let the cancer ruin things I enjoy, in as much as I can control that. It’s already taken so much from me by having everything in my pelvis and I want to live my life as much as I can. I have suffered greatly from anxiety at times, which literally stopped me leaving the house, gave me awful panic attacks and was so debilitating. I probably had more anxiety about getting on the bus and going into town than I did about major surgery. Now I try to have things to look forward to and focus on. I am worried about long haul travel, but my way of looking at it is that if I don’t try, I’ll never know if I can do it. So I try to push on! Xx”

Online Community Member, Ileostomy, colostomy and stoma support forum

Sometimes life happens, once a diagnosis is made it usually may mean that plans must be altered:

“Hi so I’ve been diagnosed with stage 2 squamous ?cancer in the bowel.  Three months of radiation and chemo at home.  They said I need a cat scan as some lymph nodes are very enlarged near the area where the cancer is.  Consultant said definitely to cancel my trip to Rwanda.  Feeling a bit numb about it all but consultant said if you are going to get cancer this is the best to have??? Xx”

Online Community Member, Bowel (colon and rectal) Cancer forum

But the wonderful Community members share their experience to show that it can sometimes get difficult when trying to travel, but it can be done:

“You've got a dual problem:

  1. The physical effects of treatment 
  2. Insurance 

When I was diagnosed we had to cancel a trip to Antarctica immediately,  we were due to get there about 6 days after surgery.  By the May things were good, but my surgeon refused to sign for me to travel to Kiev for the '18 Champions League final,  a surgeon's signature is necessary within 26 weeks of surgery for a long haul flight, she wasn't willing.  Also, there's no insurance company that will insure you mid treatment. 

On the upside: in February 2019 we went to Antarctica & the Falklands,  see penguin picture above. In May 2019 I was in the Wander Metropolitano to see Liverpool lift the C/L.

Fantastic you still want to take every opportunity life offers. 

YNWA  - great result tonight,  over to you Stevie” 

 Online Community Member, Bowel (colon and rectal) Cancer forum

To conclude, these are just some of the many examples that are available across the Community, when it comes to finding the right support whilst looking to go abroad or even on a break within the country. It’s important to consider all factors such as what your medical team may advise you in regard to travel, as well as acknowledging how you yourself are feeling before embarking on a journey, long or short. If you have any holidays planned, I wish you and your loved ones the best of journeys and hope you have a fantastic time.

Please feel free to take a look at some of the resources and Community forums that are available when it comes to travelling:

  • Cancer and buying travel insurance – A Macmillan help page that goes through some of the key information you may need when getting insurance.
  • Travel Insurance forum – The Community hub of trying to find and share the best deals with other members based on their experiences.
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