Travelling after treatment

When your treatment is over, you might want to have a break and go on holiday. Even though you have had cancer, you can still travel abroad. You will just have to plan a bit more carefully.

Young people backpacking

It is a good idea to talk to your doctor or nurse before you book a holiday, because there might be things you need to think about. For example, if you have had radiotherapy or certain medicines, your skin might be more sensitive to the sun. This means it is even more important to protect your skin from the sun.

Where to go

If you have had high-dose treatment with stem cell support, you will have to think carefully about which countries you go to. This is because you need vaccinations before visiting some countries, and there are certain live vaccines that you might not be able to have.

You should also think carefully about going to a country where there is malaria. Malaria can be very dangerous if you have had:

  • your spleen removed
  • high-dose treatment with stem cell support and total body irradiation.

Anyone visiting a country where there is malaria is advised to take full malaria precautions. Your doctor can give you advice about this. There are also specialist travel clinics that give health advice to travellers.

Before you travel

If you need to take medicines with you, for example strong painkillers, you might need to get a letter from your doctor so you can go through customs without any problems. You should also get a letter from your doctor if you need to take needles and syringes.

Sometimes people who have had cancer find it harder to get travel insurance, and they may have to pay more. But it is important to make sure you get travel insurance so if you are ill while you are away, you will be covered.

Macmillan Cancer Support has more information in their booklet Travel and cancer. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has information for people with disabilities and conditions like cancer about travelling abroad. There is also information on the website

Based on content originally produced by Macmillan Cancer Support.