Travel tips for patients in treatment
Sometimes we want to take a trip in the middle of
chemotherapy. Sometimes out of choice, sometimes out of
necessity. You should always consult with your doctor before
going on any trip in the middle of treatment. Chances are
your immune system is suppressed significantly and it may
not be advisable to take any trips.
If you do decide to go away from home, here are some tips
to make your journey safe and event free.
Give your traveling companion a 1-sheet summary of your
recent medical history. If there is a problem, the most
likely thing is some small infection. Who ever treats you
would want to know your recent history to try to figure out
what kind of antibiotic to take.
Consider bringing the following information:
- Paper with list of hospitals, including major cancer
clinics, along the way.
- Paper with recent medical history (name, birth date,
diagnosis, current treatment protocol, last treatment
date and medications given, any drugs he is on, any
- Name, phone number of your haematologist/oncologist
- A backup medical insurance card or photocopies of
- Traveling abroad? Consider getting an appointment
with an oncologist in the country to which you are going
- A list of motels along the way would be a good idea.
You may want to take along one of those Automobile
- Good maps are always a good idea. Paper or online,
just make sure you know where you are going.
- A navigation system is useful. It has motels,
restaurants, gas stations, etc., so you can punch in
what you are looking for and it find it quickly.
- Dehydration is something to be avoided. Bring along
a cooler for cold (non-alcoholic) drinks? Pack a lot of
Purified drinking water, take a lot of rest stops to
- Fruit? Snacks?
- If traveling by air, you may need a face mask to
protect yourself from airborne germs
- Bring a thermometer and use it often (twice a day
would be good). The last thing you want is to leave an
infection until it is too late. Head for a clinic or
hospital if you hit 100.5 (38C)
- Check with your oncologist for a prescription for
antibiotics in case you pick up something from the
motels or hotels you may stay in. It is easier to have
something along with you in lieu of having to see a
doctor in another city or town
- As a precaution against picking up a nasty
infection, bring your own pillow or pillows for the
hotel or to nap in the car if and when you tire of
driving during the day
- Avoid the usual open salad bars and watch where you
eat on the way
- Try to pick up the signs of incipient fatigue
*before* the fatigue really grabs you. It will make the
trip easier. That way you can find a place to stop and
- Stop every 2-2½ hours, rest, hydrate, go to the
bathroom and walk about a bit. This can reduce the risk
of both kidney stones and blood clots.
Most of all HAVE FUN!