Traveling with cancer? Here is what you need to know.

Couple waiting for trainDon’t let cancer stop you from seeing the world. When you have cancer, you may be tempted drop everything to cross a destination off your bucket list or perhaps you need to travel for treatment itself. Here are some tips to ensure you travel safely:

Talk to your doctor before you travel. They will let you know if it’s safe to travel and any precautions you need to take.

Keep a copy of your medical records on hand and share your doctor’s on-call number with your travel companions, in case a health care need arises while you’re traveling. Research the area you’re traveling to and know which health care facility will have the expertise to meet your medical needs.

Pack all of your medications, including a full list of them and the required dosage. Also bring any medications you may require for other side effects that you typically experience. If you’re traveling by airplane, pack your medications in your carry-on bag.

If you’re traveling outside of the country, ensure you have the proper vaccinations. (Check out the UofL Physicians – Vaccine and International Travel Center.)

Protect yourself from the sun. Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (50 is even better), including a face moisturizer and lip balm with some SPF. Wear a scarf or hat to protect your head, especially if you’ve lost your hair. Carry an umbrella to constantly shade yourself and sit in the shade whenever possible.

Take it easy. Vacation is a time to relax, but it can also be easy to overdo it. Listen to your body. Take breaks often and schedule in time for a nap.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself!


Cancer treatment is complex, but armed with information, you can take important steps toward finding the right treatment. A second opinion from UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center can be a vital tool whether you’ve just been diagnosed or you’re well into your treatment plan. Our cancer experts can help to determine if you received the correct diagnosis and that you are receiving the care that best fits your needs. Call UofL Brown Cancer Center at 502-562-HOPE (4673) or visit UofLBrownCancerCenter.org.

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About Rebecca Redman, M.D.

Dr. Rebecca Redman is a medical oncologist at UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center where she takes part in both the Head and Neck Cancer and Gastrointestinal Cancer Multidisciplinary Teams. She serves as deputy director of clinical research, heading up the Clinical Trials Program. She is an associate professor of Medical Oncology/Hematology in the Department of Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at UNC- Chapel Hill and her fellowship in Medical Oncology/Hematology at Duke University.

All posts by Rebecca Redman, M.D.