Choosing the right destination

Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer may choose to stay closer to home on their first trip away, but it is always worth looking at a few different destinations.

When looking for travel insurance quotes, for different destinations, be prepared as some countries will incur a higher premium than others. Healthcare differs between countries and a policy for a one-week trip to America is likely to cost a lot more than a two-week trip to Europe, so you may need to be flexible with your choice of destination and the length of time you would like to travel.

Depending on the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with, you may need to carry an oxygen tank, for example, if travelling by air. If this is the case, you will need to check with your airline before booking your holiday as some carriers may not have the facilities to carry oxygen on board or may only be able to carry a limited amount at one time.

Not all travel insurance policies will offer cover for associated equipment, however there are a few that will so this may be a question worth asking when you are looking for a quotation.

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EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD

Travelling within Europe may be a cheaper option and you can also use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it’s free of charge and is valid for five years. The EHIC will entitle you to the same treatment available to locals and will mean you receive emergency treatment at a discount price or for free.

It is important to remember, the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance but can come in handy should you need emergency medical help abroad – some travel insurance companies may also offer a discount or waiver the policy excess for EHIC holders.

PRECAUTIONS TO CONSIDER

Breast Cancer patients who have had lymph nodes removed will know they need to keep the area out of direct sunlight. We understand when you’re on holiday you will want to relax on the beach or by the pool but it is essential you keep this area covered – either by wearing a throw-over or sticking to the shade. An alternative would be to look for a cooler destination or perhaps go for something different altogether and head on a winter break to Iceland to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Likewise, following radiotherapy treatment your skin may be more sensitive than usual to the sun therefore you should stay out of direct sunlight.

Lung Cancer patients may experience discomfort when travelling by air due to the reduction in oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Without an adequate oxygen supply you could experience a decline in lung function leading to the need of medical treatment. Instead of travelling by air, you could look at booking a rail service to reach your destination – Europe has some great rail links or if you wanted to travel further afield perhaps look at a cruise that departs from a port in the UK.

Alcohol consumption is not usually advised for patients who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. As measures abroad can be larger than here in the UK, it is worth speaking to your doctor before you travel for their advice on whether or not it is safe for you to consume alcohol. You should also stick to bottled water – try not to use tap water, ice cubes or eat fresh salad as the water may not be clean and could lead to sickness and diarrhoea.

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