Long flights with cancer/chemo

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AlexandraZ
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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:25 am

Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby AlexandraZ » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:11 pm

Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I are flying to the US next week and then to Mexico. He was on FOLFIRI for 6 months and it's been almost a month since his last infusion. I've heard that with cancer and/or following chemo, there are increased risk factors for e.g. blood clots. I don't want to worry unnecessarily (I worry enough as it is :? ) so I thought I'd check on here. Have any of you taken long flights close to chemo treatments or while undergoing treatment? Did you take any extra precautions? The reason I'm anxious is that a friend of our parents' died of a blood clot last year after a long flight (he had stage 4 cancer too). So a lot of our friends and associates are worried he'll "end up like the other guy". I think we should be ok, considering the fact that my bf is 28 years old and otherwise strong and healthy. Just wanted to hear if anyone had any experience/advice on the topic!

Thanks,
Alex
Boyfriend 28yo dx February 2019, CEA 70,480
Stage 4 CRC with multiple mets to liver & lungs
KRAS, NRAS, BRAF wild type, MSS
12x FOLFIRI + Vectibix
September 2019 CEA 210, 60% reduction in size, chemo break!

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ginabeewell
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby ginabeewell » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:27 pm

I flew from Chicago to Hong Kong during my first months of treatment. My onc wanted to do labs before I went to be sure my immune system was ok. Other than that, she told me to wear compression socks (I did) and walk on the flight every hour or so (thanks to diarrhea, I was up and walking regularly).

I did develop a clot after surgery, some months later, they picked it up on a CT scan. So I’ve been on blood thinners ever since. I travel regularly and no issues.
45 year old mom of twins (8) and lucky stepmom of 14 and 16 year olds
9/17/18 DX stage 4 CRC w inoperable liver mets
9/20/18 CEA 931
10/1/18 FOLFOX + Vectibix planned 12 rounds
12/12/18 CT scan showed typhlitis (7 days in hospital) but largest met down to 5 cm. Chemo holiday.
12/26/18 CEA 4.6
1/14/18 Resume chemo (#6-8)
3/27/19 HAI pump placement / colon resection
4/8/19 Resume chemo (#9-19) FOLFOX (no OX) + Vectibix
5/20/19 CEA 1.3
7/19/19 1st liver resection
10/16/19 2nd liver resection

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CRguy
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby CRguy » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:33 pm

No personal experience here BUTT maybe check with the docs
to see if something like daily low dose aspirin ( 81 mg ASA ) would be safe for him ????

Also getting up and moving around a lot is important.
Stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol on the flights.
Be vigilant about "personal hygiene" i.e. using sani wipes and even a face mask may not be too over the top,
IF the docs think there is any issue with lowered immunity post chemo ???
( we have local travel expert here who saniwpies EVERYTHING around her plane seats when travelling )

Is he able to have a flu vaccine ? as you will be travelling into the start of the fall flu season.

Not trying to be alarmist here ... just thinking of things which could impact your travels adversely :shock:

Congrats on the good news of his responses so far !

Best wishes on your trip(s)
((p.s. how is that X Factor thing going !!!!! ))

Cheers and Harmony
CRguy on the Journey
Caregiver x 4
Stage IV A rectal cancer/lung met
12 Year survivor
my life is an ongoing totally randomized UNcontrolled experiment with N=1 !
Review of my Journey so far

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juliej
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby juliej » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:01 pm

I took several long flights during chemo treatment and one trip right after a major surgery (for a funeral, unfortunately). I recommend the following:

Compression socks: I wear Pro Compression brand because they come in funky colors/patterns, instead of an older person style.
https://procompression.com/collections/mens-over-the-calf

Hydration: Take an empty water bottle and fill it at the airport. Drinking a lot means peeing a lot, which means moving around a lot - that helps prevent blood clots. Walk up and down the aisles every hour.

Flu vaccination

Sanitary wipes for disinfecting everything.

A face mask in case someone on your flight is coughing or sneezing.

If he has a port or any implants (even titanium screws from an athletic injury), it might set off the alarms going through security clearance points. My port and my HAI pump both set them off. So I frequently got extra "pat downs" and they would even wipe my hands to check for explosives. :roll: If there is just a metal detector type of security setup, you can always say you want to use the "body scanner" instead since it doesn't set off alarms.

Be prepared to say he's a cancer patient on treatment if you catch flak from anyone about anything.

Safe travels!
Juliej
Last edited by juliej on Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stage IVb, liver/lung mets 8/4/2010
Xelox+Avastin 8/18/10 to 10/21/2011
LAR, liver resec, HAI pump 11/2011
Adjuvant Irinotecan + FUDR
Double lung surgery + ileo reversal 2/2012
Adjuvant FUDR + Xeloda
VATS rt. lung 12/2012 - benign granuloma!
VATS left lung 11/2013
NED 11/22/13 to 9/23/2019, CEA<1

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CRguy
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby CRguy » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:14 pm

Good points JJ
I forgot about the scans and scanner issues ... AND ...
as I recall we even had folks who took flak and had issues for having an ostomy :shock: :twisted:

I recall others who had their Docs write them cover letters about implants etc.
JUST to have on hand for security folks.

Cheers all
CRguy
Caregiver x 4
Stage IV A rectal cancer/lung met
12 Year survivor
my life is an ongoing totally randomized UNcontrolled experiment with N=1 !
Review of my Journey so far

AlexandraZ
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:25 am

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby AlexandraZ » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:46 am

Thanks so much guys!

I was planning to get compression socks and now I definitely will. Disinfecting the area around his seat is a good idea too! Honestly probably a good idea for anyone, I wonder if those seats EVER get properly cleaned...

I'll double check with the hospital too. His blood work was fine two weeks ago, two weeks after his last infusion. So it should still be good. Jesper feels GREAT, for the first time since he started chemo. He's gaining weight, his skin cleared up, he feels strong...so that's all positive and SO LOVELY for me to see! So I think he will be fine. I'll bring a mask too, good point Juliej! It would suck to be caught next to someone coughing without anything to protect him. Also, our friend who died was about 30 years older than Jesper and doing very badly at that point. So I shouldn't compare. But I'll definitely take all precautions!

X factor went great, CRguy! :D I had to sign an NDA so I'm scared of writing too much. But it was a great day and meeting the judges was a lot of fun. Looks like I'll have to drop out though, since we'll be out of town for all the important dates I'm supposed to keep free. But that's ok! Once Jesper is ok all that stuff will still be there.

We've been flying to Hungary about once a month for some oxygen treatment, and that's been totally fine. It's only the long flight from Paris to Atlanta that had me a little worried. Surprisingly, Jesper's port never sets off the metal detectors!
Boyfriend 28yo dx February 2019, CEA 70,480
Stage 4 CRC with multiple mets to liver & lungs
KRAS, NRAS, BRAF wild type, MSS
12x FOLFIRI + Vectibix
September 2019 CEA 210, 60% reduction in size, chemo break!

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Jacques
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Location: Occitanie

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Jacques » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:18 pm

AlexandraZ wrote:..lI'll bring a mask too, good point Juliej! It would suck to be caught next to someone coughing without anything to protect him...

It is my impression that the N95 masks are the ones to get for protecting yourself from incoming dust and bacteria. There's an altogether different kind of mask for protecting other people from your own infectious outbound breath. Be sure you get the right kind.

https://www.amazon.com/n95-masks/s?k=n95+masks

Jolene
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Jolene » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:20 am

I remembered asking my oncologist the same thing when I was undergoing chemo and he said it's not a problem at all for my case at all.

In fact, he mentioned he had lots international cancer patients (albeit mostly a 2-6 hours vicinity) who would fly into where we are based at on a weekly basis for various appointments and chemo infusion.
Dx @ 39 F, married
Nov 18 - Scope + MRI + CT = Dx of a mid-rectal tumour at T3N1M0 (2cm) 7cm from AV
Dec 18 - CRT, 28 sessions + Capecitabine at 3000mg daily
Jan - Mar - Wait and watch in place
Mar 19 - MRI, PET, sig flex and biopsy ordered to determine being a WW candidate.
Apr 19 - Complete clinical response. Surgery on hold. 6 cycles of Xelox.
Aug 19 - Completed 6 cycles of Xelox.
Oct 19 - Tests/scans all clear / Continue to wait and watch

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Jacques
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Location: Occitanie

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Jacques » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:06 am

If you are flying from Europe to the US via KLM, please be advised that this week KLM Airlines sent out an alert to their passengers concerning possible listeria contamination in the food:

https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/klm-listeria/

Claudine
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Location: Montana

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Claudine » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:48 am

My husband has been flying all over (within US but also between US to France) while on chemo and it's never been a problem :)
Wife of Dx 04/2018 (51 yo). MSS, KRAS mutated G12A
No primary, lytic tumor L4 vertebrae, CEA 10
Radiation 04/2018
Resection small intestine 05/18 (no cancer found - Crohn's)
Xelox * 6, 05/2018 to 10/2018
6.7 cm left adrenal mass 03/14/2019, 4.4 cm 05/21, 4.1 cm 09/16
SBRT L4 02/2019
Folfiri + Avastin
CEA since 03/15: 58, 17, 10, 6.4, 5, 4.8, 4.2, 3.6, 3.2, 3.3, 3.2, 3.7, 4.3, 4.2, 4.2, 5.0
Scan 03/14: Multiple small lung nodules
Scan 05/21: shrinking
Scan 09/16: lungs show no abnormalities (YAY!!!)

NHMike
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby NHMike » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:46 am

I avoided air travel during chemo but did take a long AmTrak trip (Boston to DC). You can easily walk to the bathrooms on trains which made it the more attractive option.
6/17: ER rectal bleeding; Colonoscopy
7/17: 3B rectal. T3N1bM0. 5.2 4.5 4.3 cm. Lymphs: 6 x 4 mm, 8 x 6, 5 x 5
7/17-9/17: Xeloda radiation
7/5: CEA 2.7; 8/16: 1.9; 11/30: 0.6; 12/20 1.4; 1/10 1.8; 1/31 2.2; 2/28 2.6; 4/10 2.8; 5/1 2.8; 5/29 3.2; 7/13 4.5; 8/9 2.8, 2/12 1.2
MSS, KRAS G12D
10/17: 2.7 2.2 1.6 cm (-90%). Lymphs: 3 x 3 mm (-62.5%), 4 x 3 (-75%), 5 x 3 (-40%). 5.1 CM from AV
10/17: LAR, Temp Ileostomy, Path Complete Response
CapeOx (8) 12/17-6/18
7/18: Reversal, Port Removal
2/19: Clean CT

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Jacques
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Jacques » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:33 pm


Zod
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Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Zod » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:40 pm

My medical oncologist is worried about clots if I fly but I have a mild clotting disorder as well.

He prescribed a blood thinner that I take before the flight.

AlexandraZ
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:25 am

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby AlexandraZ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:07 am

Thanks everyone! We had a good flight and arrived safely in Florida. Jesper wore compression socks, walked up and down the stairs of the jumbo jet every hour, and I wiped down his seat and all the things around him.

He is gaining weight and is starting to look like himself again, which makes us both so happy! A week in Florida will be good.
Boyfriend 28yo dx February 2019, CEA 70,480
Stage 4 CRC with multiple mets to liver & lungs
KRAS, NRAS, BRAF wild type, MSS
12x FOLFIRI + Vectibix
September 2019 CEA 210, 60% reduction in size, chemo break!

Maelleous
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:13 am
Location: FL

Re: Long flights with cancer/chemo

Postby Maelleous » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:51 am

I flew from Florida to Pittsburgh every other week for 8 months, 4 months after surgery, with no issues. I was on baby aspirin for cardiac arrest from chemo, but other than that no issues.
M 35 yr
DX Rectal Cancer, 10/16 (symptoms Feb 2016)
Dx stage 2 - Surgery Oct 25 201 Loop ileo w/ j-pouch
Close margins within 1mm
9/38 lymph nodes involved on path / Stg IIIc,pT4, pN2 B, p.M0. MSS, K‐ras, NRAS, no mutation
Started Folfox - 3rd Treament, Dec 30th 2016 Cardiac Arrest - Lucky to be part of the 6% to survive!
S-ICD installed / Port Removed
Vaccine Clinical trial at UPMC - last shot June 2017
Reversal 8/1/17 - Praying this is it!
Still NED


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