Traveling can be a stressful experience, even when you don't have cancer! If you have cancer, there are so many precautions you must take before you step out the front door. Here is what cancer patients need to know about traveling during treatment.
1. Always Talk to Your Doctor FirstBefore making any plans or scheduling reservations, talk to your doctor first! Although you may feel physically up to traveling, your doctor may think otherwise. If your doctor approves you traveling, be sure to get it in writing. If you require special services at the airport, some airlines require a letter from a doctor approving travel.
2. Find Qualified Doctors at Your Destination Before You LeaveBefore you leave, locate a doctor in your destination area that can provide care, should you need it. Your doctor or treatment center may be able to provide a referral. This way in an emergent situation, you will know exactly who to contact and where to go. Your doctor may also be able to talk to the doctor at your destination to provide details about your care, so the doctor is aware of your treatment beforehand.
3. Check with Your Insurance Company for Coverage InformationBefore you leave, give a call to your health insurance company to see if you are covered in other states, or if you need to go to a certain hospital or doctor if you need treatment. You may want to check to see if you may need travelers insurance if you are traveling overseas.
4. Take Along Extra MedicationWhen traveling, you may want to bring along extra medication in case medication is lost. Remember to always carry medication with you, not in a suitcase! This is very important in case luggage is lost or delayed.
Before leaving, write down all the medications you take, the dosage of each, and the prescribing doctor's name and phone number. Carry this list with you at all times. If medication is lost, this information will make it much easier for a pharmacy to contact your physician for a refill.
5. Have Verification of Medical EquipmentIf you have been assigned medical devices, make sure you carry written verification that it has been prescribed for you and what exactly the medical equipment is. This will be especially important in airports and overseas travel. Plus, if equipment is lost, your verification will make claiming it much easier when it is found.
6. Ensure Your Meds Aren't Illegal in the Country You are Traveling ToIf you have medication that is illegal in the country you are traveling to, make sure you have a doctor's note explaining what the drug is and why you need it. You can find out if prescriptions you have are illegal by contacting the country's consulate office. It is also important to transport all medication in the original packaging from the pharmacy that has your your name, medication name, dosage and prescrbing doctor on the label.
7. If Traveling by Air, Arrange for Assistance Getting to the GateWalking to different terminals and gates can be physically exhausting for someone who doesn't have cancer, let alone a person that does. When checking your baggage, let the airline know that you need assistance to the gate. Don't risk not being able to get on your flight because you didn't think you would need help, or were too proud to ask.
8. Take Time to RestRest is so important for a person going through cancer treatment! Just taking 15-20 minutes of rest every few hours can save and build up energy for later. Don't overdo it! Take frequent rest breaks to prevent fatigue and exhaustion.
9. Prepare Snacks and Light MealsEating small, but frequent snack and meals will help keep energy levels high. Choose snacks like fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and crackers. These make excellent snacks that are both tasty and nutritional. Light meal and snack ideas:
- instant breakfast shakes
- peanut butter (sandwiches, crackers)