Traveling with Advanced Breast Cancer
Last updated: March 2023
I used to love to travel pre-cancer, but I couldn't help but feel anxious about being away from my safe space, my home, for too long. Now that I have metastatic breast cancer, the anxiety, and fear can be much worse. Even when traveling close to home, I still get nervous. Tons of questions rattle around in my head for weeks before the actual trip.
Did I remember to fill my medication? Do I know where the closest hospital is? Do I have all the phone numbers I may need in an emergency? There are different situations for different travel destinations, so this is just a standard list of tips.
Tips for traveling
Call your doctor
Check with your healthcare team to make sure that travel is okay for you to do. Your healthcare team knows your situation best and can even give you some travel tips and information that may be important.
Depending on where you are traveling, you may need some travel insurance. Admittedly I do not know much about travel insurance, but I do know that travel insurance is designed to protect against risks and financial losses that could happen while traveling.
These can range from minor inconveniences such as missed airline connections and delayed luggage to more severe issues, including injuries or significant illness. Please check with the company you purchase the insurance through because it may not cover pre-existing conditions. Read the fine print.
Medication is also vital. Make sure you have filled all your prescriptions and all supplements you may take. Put them in a daily/weekly pill box or container, and always bring extra. You could run into a situation where you have to stay longer and don't want to be without your meds.
Airlines have different rules for bringing medications on the plane, so make sure you call before heading to the airport and ask for customer service. Also, I carry all my medication in my carry-on just in case your bags get misplaced.
I don't know about you, but I would be lost without my Aquaphor. Of course, you can probably buy most toiletries where you are visiting, but you never know.
They probably don't have that organic, all-natural deodorant you love so much on a cruise ship or in the middle of the forest on that camping trip. So make sure you have all your "extra" needs packed with you.
The little things
These are the comfort items you might want to bring. I always bring a small blanket from home and even a sheet to sleep on or with. It reminds me of home and brings me some comfort.
Maybe for you, it's headphones, a comfy pillow, or some fluffy socks—anything to make it a more homey feeling where you are.
What does your list look like?
Remember that everyone's list may be different. Bring what fits your needs and your travel companion's needs. Make a checklist and check it twice.
But most importantly, whether it is a leisure trip, work trip, or a downhearted trip, try to relax, make the most of the time you've been given, and take lots of pictures.
Advanced breast cancer is an isolating and lonely disease.