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Breast Cancer Care blog

One of the many hidden effects of having breast cancer is that travel becomes more complicated, and sometimes more expensive, especially if you're going abroad.

Helpful hints

Travel queries are among the many reasons why people contact our free Helpline, and here are some of the tips and hints we offer when people ring.

5550 Think ahead

If you're having treatment such as chemotherapy or are recovering from surgery, it can be useful to have with you a letter explaining your situation from your cancer specialist. This will be helpful if you need healthcare while you’re away.

If you’re taking daily tablets, keep them in your hand luggage with some to spare in case of delays.

If you feel unwell on holiday in the UK, you can be seen urgently at any GP practice (local doctor) or you can go to an NHS walk in centre. You can check online before you go for the closest healthcare centres to where you will be staying in EnglandScotland and Wales.

If going abroad, try to find out how to access health care before you go or as soon as you arrive so you know what to do if you become unwell. Your tour operator should be able to help with this if you have one.  

Treatment clashes

If you've booked a holiday and then find you’ll be having treatment, talk to your specialist. They'll advise you about the best time for travel and will try to fit the treatment around your plans. 


Many people find they pay a premium on travel insurance because they’ve had a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s worth ringing a number of companies to get the best deal and reading the small print to check your cover.

It’s tempting to get cover for everything other than breast cancer, especially if treatment has finished, but this isn’t advisable. Have a look at a list of travel insurance companies that people using our Forums and calling the Helpline have recommended in the past few months.


Book a travel appointment with the nurse at your GP practice if you are going abroad. Make it at least eight weeks before you leave, especially if you think may need vaccinations.

Live vaccines are not advised when you’re having chemotherapy, or in the six months after treatment. This is because your immune system will be weakened, so you're more at risk of infection. Live vaccines include yellow fever, BCG, typhoid tablets and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella, also called German measles).

Ready for the beach, but there's lots to think about


You can take some simple steps to reduce your risk of developing lymphoedema, or worsening it if you're already affected.

For example, use an insect repellent containing 50% deet to prevent bites.

There are more details in this leaflet produced by the Lymphoedema Support Network.

Reduce blood clot risk

If you sitting for long periods while travelling, rotate your feet and  stretch your legs regularly to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Malaria tablets

Check with your cancer care team or GP practice nurse about taking malaria tablets. They'll find out from the Malaria Reference Laboratory whether there are any interactions with your tablets.

Sun protection

Protect your skin with high protection factor sun lotion or keep covered with loose fitting clothes. This may be especially important for you as some chemotherapy drugs can make the skin sensitive to the sun. If you have had radiotherapy treatment, make certain to protect your skin in the affected area.


We couldn't provide free breast cancer support services without public support so, to help tell the real story of what it’s like to live with breast cancer, we’re running a #hiddeneffects campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Find out more about the hidden effects of breast cancer and how you can get involved.

Post date: 23 October 2014

In response to figures released, which show the number of specialist adult cancer nurses in England has reached an all-time high, Diana Jupp, Director of Services and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Care says:

"It is encouraging to hear that cancer nurse numbers are 'reaching peak'. However, there is still so much more needed to be done, particularly for patients with secondary breast cancer, when the cancer cannot be cured.


"We know from the recent Cancer Patient Experience Survey that patients feel ongoing access to a clinical nurse specialist with relevant expertise has an enormous impact on the quality of their care. Yet we know from speaking to women with secondary breast cancer that one distressing aspect of the disease is the lack of ongoing access to a clinical nurse specialist who can give them the support and care they need. As such, many feel their care is second rate.


"This situation is absolutely unacceptable. Every single person living with secondary breast cancer must have the option of ongoing access to a clinical nurse specialist with secondary breast cancer expertise."

Post date: 21 October 2014

The Football Association (FA) is offering our supporters an exclusive ticket deal to the England Women’s match at Wembley on 23 November.

Under the offer adult tickets are just £10, down from £15, while children's tickets are just £1.

Mascot places

The match against Germany is in aid of Breast Cancer Care and is the first time the England Women’s team has played at Wembley. So make sure you don’t miss this historic occasion, which kicks off at 3pm.

By buying tickets, you'll be in with a chance of winning one of three mascot spaces for the match. Imagine seeing your son or daughter walk out with England Women as they leave the Wembley tunnel.*

Pass it On campaign

This exciting offer is part of Breast Cancer Care and the FA's new charity partnership. Over the next two years, through the Pass it On campaign, the two organisations hope to reach thousands more people across the nation with our vital breast awareness message.

5541 We also aim to raise £500,000 to support women and men facing this brutal disease.

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, so it’s really important that everyone knows the changes to look and feel for when checking their breasts. Early detection can save lives.

Find out how to check your breasts.

Since the partnership launched just over a month ago, the iconic Wembley Arch has turned pink, Sky News sports presenter Jacqui Beltrao backed the campaign with a trip to Wembley and the England Men’s football team have shown their support.

How to buy tickets

To buy tickets to the game, select the Breast Cancer Care drop-down option on the ticketing page TheFA.com/Tickets. Alternatively call the ticketing hotline on 0844 826 2010 (option 2). The offer is open Tuesday 21 October to Friday 24 October at midnight.

We hope to see you there!

*Mascot spaces are available for girls and boys 7-11 years old. Three winners will be selected at random. The FA will contact the winners after the competition has closed, and if the winner is unable to respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Post date: 20 October 2014

Fears about breast cancer coming back are often raised by people phoning our Helpline.

5413 Callers might say: 'I’m so scared it’s going to come back.' or 'My treatment has finished but I’m worried about every new ache or pain.'

Normal feelings

It’s normal to feel anxious about this. In fact most people will feel some degree of concern. The worry and uncertainty can feel all-consuming at first, although most people find that as time passes they think about their cancer less often.

Although it’s possible for breast cancer to come back, bear in mind that improved treatments and earlier detection mean most people don’t have any further problems.

Everyone’s risk is slightly different. If you want to know more about your own risk it’s best to talk to your cancer specialist.

When fears are common

People often call our Helpline when their hospital treatment has finished (although they might still be taking hormone therapy tablets, for example). At this time hospital visits usually become less frequent and you may not have so many chances to speak to your team about your worries. This can sometimes leave you feeling alone and frightened. 

Some people find that a significant event can trigger a fear. This might be a special occasion or anniversary, hearing about someone else being diagnosed, seeing or reading a media report  about breast cancer, attending a follow-up appointment or even passing the hospital where you had your treatment.

Support for you

Although it may feel frightening to read about breast cancer returning, having a better understanding of what to look out for and what to do if you notice a change may help you feel more in control.

Find out more about what to look out for and what to do if you notice a change.

It may also help to talk about your fears. To get in touch with someone who understands how you are feeling you could try our Someone like Me service, or our online discussion Forum or Live Chat sessions. 

We’re here to listen and to support you on the Helpline too, so if you’re feeling anxious about your future, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring on 0808 800 6000.

Watch the video below to hear Valerie, one of our volunteers, talk about having breast cancer, including her fears of it coming back.  


We couldn't provide free breast cancer support services without public support so, to help tell the real story of what it’s like to live with breast cancer, we’re running a #hiddeneffects campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Find out more about the hidden effects of breast cancer and how you can get involved.

Post date: 20 October 2014

We have 100 tickets for the best seats in the house to this autumn’s must-see musical – Made in Dagenham.

Tickets are for the 4 November and cost £50 each (normal price £69.50) with every penny going to help fund our work providing urgently needed support to people with breast cancer.

5539 The musical is inspired by the true story of women who took part in the Ford sewing machinists strike in 1968 to protest against not being paid as much as men in the same roles. Based on a hit movie, Made in Dagenham is the uplifting new West End musical comedy about friendship, love and the importance of fighting for what is right.

Film and stage actress Gemma Arterton makes her musical debut in this West-End production. Filled with heart and humour, it’s the true story of an inspiring group of women who changed history in when they joined together and stood up for equal pay.

To book tickets please call 0345 092 0806 or email specialevents@breastcancercare.org.uk

Post date: 20 October 2014