My Ovacome

To holiday or not to holiday?

I saw my onc at the beginning of December and was told that the Avastin had stopped working! I have not had any treatment since then but am having various tests on the 8 th and 9 th with a view to starting caylix the week after.

My partner wants us to go to Madeira that week and start my treatment the week after. (Where is all this going I hear you ask?)

I cannot get insurance to cover cancer!! I am worried that the cancer has been growing and I could become ill whilst away, how do I get back and how much would treatment cost in Madeira?

I feel safe in this country and know if anything happens I will get driven to the Marsden.

Am I being a wimp, what would be your advice?

Interested to hear your views please. Anthea

20 Replies

I was in the same position as you last April. Avastin had stopped working and scan showed disease returning. I was about to go onto caelyx but in between we did manage a week in Italy which was lovely but I was not at full strength. I didn't have to defer , the timing worked ....

It was going through the airport which worried me the most, standing and hanging around so I took a walking stick, we booked the fast tracking through security at a little extra cost plus the quiet breakfast lounge prior which cut out the crowd milling . This was brilliant and I recommend.

However we had to cancel 2 weeks later when we were supposed to be flying to Vancouver to see our daughter and family as I knew I could not manage this

Can't remember what we did re insurance, I will ask my husband when he wakes up, and post again!

You really have to go with your gut feeling. It could make you feel better and be a nice thing to do ( I love Madeira) . Would you be prepared to go without the medical part of insurance ? I reason that not a lot is going to happen in a week re your condition ( it's not like we have a heart or other medical condiotn which COULD suddenly deteriorate orbe worrisome) , yes you may feel worse and have less stamina, strength but if need be you could just suck up the cost of flying back early??

That's my reasoning as we are looking now at a week on Tenerife ( I have finished a course of treatment and ok at the moment) in a couple of weeks, but now also now need to look at the insurance side. As I woke this morning I had a thought that it might be a good idea to get a medical note from my onc or GP ( we did this for Italy) signed to show I was ok to travel ( think we must have done that for Italy). More later...x

Janet 🌈


Thanks Janet.


We went to Tenerife in December despite my being in lots of pain and blood in my urine.

Was it a good idea - the sun and food was great for the soul without the pain it would’ve been much better. In that position again I don’t think I’d go. Our game plan was if bleeding got worse or I felt really bad then we’d just book a flight home. We had no insurance but you can get treated for free at a public hospital.

I also booked special assistance

If you have no pain to manage I’d say go for it

LA xx


Thanks for you thoughts very kind. X


Firstly, check with your onc if one week’s delay is going to make any difference. If not, then if you fancy going why not? Especially if you have no pain. If you really cannot get insurance to cover your cancer, do still take medical insurance, you might fall and break a leg! However, try Eurostar / Le shuttle insurance, you don’t have to be going through the tunnel. They will cover you providing you havenot been told you are terminal and your onc is prepared to say you are fit for travel. They don’t need to write such a letter unless you claim. I checked and being told incurable is not the same as terminal. I’ve not had to claim and they don’t ask many questions but you can download the policy wording.

I’d say go for it especially if pain free, caelyx could make it difficult to have a holiday for some time.

All the best!


Thanks for your thoughts much appreciated. X


My sister insisted on special assistance for me so I did that. I was glad in the end as I’d have felt ill with any long standing and the whole airport scenario would have ruined the trip. Malaga is Europe’s wheelchair capital and they cater very well for people who are poorly.

It’s a good thing to go to a place with plenty of flights home as LA has said. We went a few times to the Costa del Sol as there are many flights home and I thought that I could go to any UK hospital no matter where I landed back in the UK.

Malaga has a large public hospital. I did get a norovirus and was ill for 5 days. We called the doctor (£100) out and he said I could go to the public hospital A and E since I wasn’t covered for cancer and he couldn’t be absolutely sure what was causing the symptoms. The public hospital has dire service on Sundays and I could have waited hours to be seen. The call out doctor recommended staying put, drinking fluids and resting. The hotel was full of many older guests on Saga holidays which added to the problem. The doctor told me the norovirus was hard to get rid of in a winter environment with lots of vulnerable people in it. The Costa del Sol coast isn’t my favourite though I have to admit.

Last year, we went to Majorca late on which was nice and plenty of flights home too. Again, we used special assistance and we also used a taxi to get to the resort. There is a large public hospital on Majorca.

Madeira is beautiful with the temperature around 75 Fahrenheit all year round but it’s a long way. I’m not sure what I’d do as I’m not in your position. You are covered by your European Health Card there I’m told so getting your treatment might not be a problem but it might be difficult getting a quick flight if you feel off and just want to get home.

From a personal point of view, if I really wanted to go, I’d do it with my doctor's say so but if I had other, safer options, and Madeira wasn’t the be all and end all, I’d go to mainland Europe with a good public hospital within a 10 mile taxi ride and with an Easyjet airport within 40 minutes.

Or you could adopt a pussy cat and not want to go!

Sue xx


Thanks for all the info. Very useful. X


Thanks you for your reply much appreciated. X


Me again... yes we insured with 'Insurancewith' but only for new health conditions , lost luggage etc etc. They still wanted more than the average holiday insurer just because of the c... word, even though they wouldn't have paid out had there been a problem.

Unless you pay a ridiculous amount no one is going to give you the cover you would like. For one week in Europe I would say go for it before next treatment starts . One weeks delay in starting caelyx shouldn't make a lot of difference, and once you start that there will be no holiday break for a while.

It's all entirely down to how confident and well you feel plus advice from the doctor/ s .

Hope you make it... x

1 like

Thank you for you advice. I will go for it. Before my diagnosis I was a risk taker but this lot has knocked the stuffing out of me, time I got some of my old self back. Thanks again. Anthea x


I got insurance with insurewith in a similar situation. Avastin had stopped working and I was on watch and wait for 6 months. In which time my CA soared to 1000s. I had had 2 cycles of chemo at time of going to Cape Verde but when I rang them and bought it i had had none. I was where you are at. Don't fill forms in on line. Get their number from the website. They are pleasant and helpful. I've used them 3 times. I paid £75 for 10 days. They do ask if you if you have doctor's permission to go. Good luck x


Thank you so much for your help. Anthea


Avastin stopped working for me and I had a scan the day before I flew to Tenerife, getting the results two days after flying home. I'm now in Caelyx (second dose on Friday). I got insurance with Boots. Also had a quote from MIA.


I tried boots but they would insure anything not cancer related, that lets them off a lot of things. Thanks for the info. And your time. Anthea


I took 5 holidays out of the country (Canada) in 2017 while my cancer continued to grow. I didn't have medical insurance to cover cancer either. I am so thankful to have had those 5 amazing adventures. I also knew that if I started to feel unwell, I could go to the airport and book the first flight out to Canada. I'm so glad I took these vacations. The risk was worth it! Kim xx


Thank you for you reply. You give me courage, I have booked so am now going to start looking forward to the break and stop being such a worrier. Anthea


I am happy to hear you are going! Have a wonderful time! Kim xx


Thank you I will.


Hi Anthea, Good advice from the ladies as usual, I would say go also but do ask your OC,

i don't think that a week to wait for treatment will do any harm, I've had experience with caelyx with good results hope it works for you ..take care Lorraine xx


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