It is not uncommon for cancer patients to travel out of town in order to receive cancer treatment. For example, those living in a rural setting may need to travel to a larger city in order to find specialized cancer treatment facilities. Receiving treatment for rare forms of cancer or seeking out a treatment method that isn’t widely available are other reasons why you might need to travel for cancer care.
Regardless of the reason, there are a number of things that need to be kept in mind when traveling for cancer treatment. Review these tips and considerations to minimize costs and hassles associated with the trip:
Costs of Cancer Care Travel
Transportation, hotel lodging and the cancer treatment itself can all combine to make out-of-town cancer care a costly endeavor. Prior to embarking on your trip, it is important to review how much of the intended treatment will be covered by your insurance. In some cases, traveling farther for a covered cancer treatment may be a more affordable option.
Before agreeing to out-of-town care, you should also investigate how long the treatment takes and how long you will be required to stay near the cancer facility. This will affect the length of time you’ll need lodging. If you are flying to reach your destination, be sure to review the U.S. Transportation Security Administration requirements to ensure that all medications and medical equipment you will be traveling with will pass through security.
You may also want to inform your airline of any special accommodations you may need, such as wheelchair assistance.
If you feel you need help paying for travel expenditures associated with cancer treatment, then there are a number of resources that may be able to help. For example, organizations such as Joe’s House, Ronald McDonald House and the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses are good options for finding patient housing. Other groups that help cancer patients with financial assistance include the Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition, HealthWell Foundation and National Foundation for Transplants.
Trip Preparations for Cancer Treatment
There are a number of issues that need to be addressed prior to traveling for cancer care. Talking with both your local doctor and primary doctor at the out-of-town facility is a good place to start. Be sure to ask questions relating to the nature the treatment, as well as what to expect in regards to trip length and treatment side effects.
To minimize hassles upon arrival at the facility, obtain documentation of your medical history and bring it with you. A list of medications and contact information for previous health care providers is also recommended. Taking the time to refill prescriptions prior to leaving town may also minimize issues down the road.
Of course, discussing a leave of absence with your employer is important as well. Be sure to discuss the expected length of travel with your employer to review your options related to medical leave and short-term disability.
At home, you may also need to make plans to have someone watch your house, pets and children. There are many home responsibilities that need to be attended to while away. Make sure that bill payments and other issues are covered prior to leaving.