The month of October has long been celebrated as the month to celebrate those who have survived and are fighting breast cancer. As a woman owned and run business, WanderfullySo feels passionate about aligning ourselves with the fight to keep going and to survive and conquer. Therefore we have dedicated this blog to sharing some tips on travelling safely during and after cancer treatments. However, please note these are just tips as we are definitely not qualified to give medical advice.
PACK YOUR MEDICATION
First things first and probably the most important part of your trip is to pack your medication. You need to make sure that it is always on hand and make sure you have enough to last the whole trip. It would be a great idea to carry your medication on the plane with you.
AVOID LIVE VACCINATIONS
For those who are undergoing chemotherapy while travelling, it is not recommended to take vaccinations such as, for tuberculosis, including for six months afterwards. This is because the vaccinations contain tiny amounts of live virus or bacteria which could cause serious infections. The yellow fever vaccination is a live vaccination needed when travelling to Cape Town, South Africa, therefore it might be safer for chemotherapy patients to book a free concierge session with WanderfullySo for a virtual tour before physically travelling.
PROSTHESIS AND AIRPORT SCANNERS
If you have had a mastectomy (removal of the breast) and now wear a prosthesis, you might be worried about the airport scanners going off. Consider telling the airport security staff that you are wearing a prosthesis before being scanned. Yes, this may be awkward or embarrassing, but you are less likely to be searched than if you do not declare it.
REDUCE THE RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS
Recent surgery can increase the risk of blood clots, especially deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The following four points are tips to reduce the risk of blood clots:
Wear compression stockings, they reduce the risk of DVT, but be sure to get the right size, weight and fit for you and try not to cross your legs.
Walk around at least once an hour or stand for periods of time. If you are lucky enough to have enough leg room, make the most of it and do stretching exercises. These stretches can include flexing the calf muscles, stretching thigh muscles and curling and stretching your toes.
Drink lots of fluids. When we say fluids, we do not mean alcohol, but plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Leave the cocktails and beers for once you touch down in the Mother City and are out exploring!
Massage your muscles with a tennis ball by pushing it into your thighs and rolling it up and down your legs. Doing so will help promote circulation in your legs.
INSECT REPELLENT TO REDUCE THE RISK OF LYMPHOEDEMA
Lymphoedema is swelling of the arm(s), and common after breast cancer surgery. Using insect repellent to prevent insect bites is important to reduce this risk. If you are travelling to a country where quick access to good quality healthcare is difficult, you may want to ask your GP for a course of antibiotics to take with you. If you develop signs of an infection in your ‘at risk’ arm or hand, you can then treat the infection as early as possible. Luckily Cape Town is equipped with many government and private hospitals, making quality healthcare easily accessible.
PACE YOURSELF DURING ACTIVITIES
Whether you are still undergoing treatment or have completed treatments, it is still very important to pace yourself during activities as you may be more tired than usual. Treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy are known to make skin more sensitive, so make sure to take care while relaxing on one of our idyllic beaches in the sun by covering your skin and wearing a hat. Use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and avoid going out during the hottest part of the day which falls between 11am and 3pm. It is also advised to avoid swimming as it contributes to making your skin dry and irritated.
BE A SUPPORTIVE PARTNER
If you are the partner of a breast cancer fighter or survivor, remember to be patient and supportive of your partner. They may feel tired and exhausted at times during the trip, but may still want to do certain things to make the most of your vacation together. Work out together what you both want to do and find a compromise as you are probably both in need of this well deserved break.
VIRTUAL TRAVEL AS AN ALTERNATIVE
Edit Image Explore with virtual travel
As safe as it is to still travel, if you are not feeling up to it, there is always the option of virtual travel! Virtual travel has become extremely popular since the outbreak of the Coronavirus and there are many different types of tours available. WanderfullySo currently offers a variety of exciting tours of Cape Town, and by 2032 we will offer experiences from all over Africa. All you need to do is book a free concierge session with us or if you would like, we could arrange a customized virtual experience for you!
Virtual travel is the perfect alternative to travelling while fighting or overcoming breast cancer as you are receiving a virtual experience of a different country, city and culture, right from the comfort of your own home!