Travel and chemotherapy

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Some people can still travel and go on vacation while receiving chemotherapy. Find out what you need to know about travel and chemotherapy, including practicial tips and major risks.

Key points

  • If you or your family have a vacation planned, talk to your health-care team to see if it will be possible for you to travel.
  • The biggest risk while you travel is infection.
  • If you do travel, always take copies of any necessary documentation, find a doctor at your destination, find out what medical insurance covers and pack your medications in your carry-on luggage.

​Having chemotherapy does not always mean that you need to delay travel plans. If your family has planned a vacation, let your health-care team know. It may be possible to co-ordinate your treatments around travel plans. Talk to your health-care team and tell them what matters to you so that they can find ways to accommodate you. Always remember that your health is the most important thing – sometimes trips will need to be cancelled and postponed if you get sick.

Travel tips

  • Take copies of any documentation of your treatment on your trip. This includes a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and the treatment you are receiving and your medication prescriptions. These documents will help you avoid hassle at border security checkpoints (for example at airports) and may be useful in case of an emergency while you are away.
  • Before you leave, find doctors in your travel destination in case you need medical treatment while on your trip.
  • If you are leaving the country, find out what your medical insurance covers for foreign travel.
  • Make sure that all the medical equipment you are using has paperwork that identifies what the equipment is used for so you do not have trouble at the airport. Each country has different rules and the medications that you are taking could be illegal in the country you are travelling to. Make sure you have all the information and paperwork you need before you leave.
  • Keep medications with you in your carry-on luggage.

Again, the biggest risk you face in travel is infection. Always talk to your health-care team before planning any trips to make sure you can keep yourself safe and healthy while you’re away. Some areas of the world have diseases your body won’t be used to and your immune system won’t be able to fight them after chemotherapy. Your health-care team will be able to advise you on where and when it is safe to travel.​​

Last updated: September 3rd 2019