Is my trip going to cost more if I've got prostate cancer?
Unfortunately, it probably will. Travel insurance is likely to
be more expensive after a diagnosis of prostate cancer - even if
you're not having treatment or if the cancer is under control.
Insurance is worked out by averages and risks. Because insurers
think you're more likely to need medical assistance on your trip,
they charge more. Most men with prostate cancer can find travel
insurance, but you might have to shop around to get a good deal.
There are specialist insurers and brokers for people with health
conditions, but don't ignore mainstream providers - they might also
have what you're looking for.
Some men decide to take out insurance which doesn't cover
everything related to their cancer. All insurance has gaps in what
it covers. It's a case of deciding what's most vital for you and
what risk you're prepared to take. But always declare everything
when you take out the policy - if you don't, you might make the
whole policy invalid. Macmillan Cancer Support list agencies
that offer travel insurance to people with cancer.
Other things might also raise the cost of a holiday. For
example, you may be more concerned about having home comforts, or
need to be sure you'll have a fridge to store medicines.
When do I need to start planning my trip?
This depends on you and your trip, but as a rough guide, it's
good to start planning at least eight weeks before you go. This
should give you enough time to shop around for travel insurance,
make arrangements for medication or equipment, get any vaccinations
you need, and arrange for letters from your doctor or nurse.
Some of these may be new to your holiday planning, and others
could take longer than you're used to. Have a look at our travel timeline.
Flying after treatment for prostate cancer - is there anything
I need to plan?
If you're taking a plane, there might be things you need to
think about. For example, would a seat near the toilet make
things easier if you're experiencing incontinence? Will a long-haul
flight be tiring, and can you properly rest and recuperate at
the other end?
After surgery, you might not be able to fly straight away - in
fact, any long travel might be tricky, whether by road, rail, or
sea. The NHS has some general information,
but you can ask your surgeon how soon it's sensible for you to
In theory, if you've had brachytherapy, the radiation from the
implanted seeds could set off the sensors at the airport. This is
probably unlikely, but if you're worried you can ask your doctor
for an advice card saying you've had treatment with internal
What do I need to think about when taking medicines or medical
Check what you need to do at the airport and with the airline.
Tell them what you need to take and how it needs to be stored. You
might need letters from your doctor or nurse. Some medicines
need to be kept below a certain temperature, so you might need a
fridge where you stay, and cool bags for the journey. Your
doctor or nurse can tell you about storing your medicines or
Don't forget to have medicine with you for the trip - and maybe
a bit extra, in case you or your bags are delayed anywhere.
Check if you need any paperwork to get your medicines through
customs - medicines that are legal here may need a special license
in another country. Is English widely spoken where you're going? If
not, you might want to have your medical documents translated - it
could save delays and misunderstandings.
If you have to take your medicines at certain times of the day,
remember that changing time zones - and just changing to a holiday
lifestyle - might upset this routine. Talk to your doctor or
nurse about how to make sure you're still taking the medicine at
the right time.
I have urinary problems. How might this affect my trip?
If you have urinary problems, you might be taking equipment with
you (such as continence pads or a catheter, and hygiene wipes). If
you're flying, make sure you know how you'll get it onto the plane
and think about having a doctor's letter to explain things. If you
pass the letter to a security officer before you and the bags are
scanned they'll know what to expect.
Remember that it won't be easy to get hold of spares while
you're away, so carry any spare parts (catheter valves, for
example), and anything you need to keep things clean and working.
It'll probably be easier to pack a bigger bag at home than to try
and buy specialised medical equipment while you're away.
Translated information might be useful if people don't read
English and something does go wrong. The company that makes your
equipment might already have information in other languages
The call of nature shouldn't stop you visiting the places you
want to, but when you're planning days out, bear in mind that some
places have more toilets than others, and you won't know where they
are. You might find tips from travellers forum websites like Trip
Advisor, or maps of public toilets from the local tourist
information site. The Bladder and Bowel Foundation has more about
What can I do to stay well while I'm away?
It's important to look after your general health while you're
away. For example, it might be wise to avoid strenuous activity
that you're not used to. And be wary of getting too hot (or too
If you've had treatment with radiotherapy, you might be extra
sensitive to the sun so don't forget to wear sunscreen.
Treat cuts, scratches and bites with antiseptic cream straight
away - and wear insect repellent to cut down the chances of being
bitten. This is especially important if you've had treatment that
weakens your immune system, such as chemotherapy.
You can also protect yourself by only drinking clean water,
avoiding raw foods, street food and ice in drinks, and peeling
fruit before you eat it. As an extra precaution, you could ask your
doctor or nurse for antibiotics for the trip.
And wherever you go, keep a friend or relative's contact details
with you in case you have an emergency.
Remember, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor or
nurse when you start planning a trip. They can help you think about
any impact your diagnosis or treatments might have.
- Read more in our Travel fact
- And you can find out what other men find useful on our online forum
- If you've got any questions or concerns about travel and
holidays, you can speak to our Specialist
- Do you have tips on travel and prostate cancer or prostate
problems? Please share them using the comments function below.