Hello everybody, I need some advice, I am afraid that this about cancer is very new to me, And I don’t know much about anything, I read your posts and I think averybody has researched all this a lot more than me. My problem now is flying, I want to go to Spain on Holiday, I am not worried about insurance what I am worried about is lymphoedema or something else, I read some people got something wrong after flying and I am wondering what to do, if flying or going by coach or train, I don’t want to put myself under any more risk than I am already with the triple negative and no chemo. Anybody got any advice please.

Hi Jaime,

I don’t think there is thought to be any problem with short haul flights. Even with long haul ones the evidence is mixed. I did a long haul flight last summer, and as I already have some lymphoedema in my hand and so am already seen by a lymphoedema clinic, I rang them up and requested a compression sleeve, which I then wore for the flights as a precaution.

Perhaps you could speak to your BC nurse about it.

I think it is more important to take basic precautions:

  • keep active during the flight - don’t just sit still
  • keep hydrated
  • don’t get sunburnt or bitten
  • keep your arm well moisturised
  • treat any cuts or grazes promptly
  • avoid carrying heavy bags with your affected arm

And most of all, enjoy your holiday!


Hi jaime

A lot of people seem to fly without problems after bc surgery and then there are those for whom, apparently it does trigger lymphoedema.

There is some evidence that suggests that getting a prophylactic sleeve for flying is a good idea, particularly if going long haul.

However, it is hard to get a sleeve for prevention, unless, like Roadrunner, you already have it to some degree. I personally feel this is a pity, as it could be worn for a number of activities where the lymphatic system is placed under greater strain, such as heavy housework, shopping, etc, and not just flying.

It’s diffucult to assess a individual’s risk of lymphoedema. People who are overweight and/or diabetetic are more likely to develop it, that much is known.

You might be interested in this: (Page 3 gives a list of known risk factors for lymphoedema)

Something else you might want to think about is whether or not you are one of those people whose feet, for example, swell up easily in hot weather, as this might indicate that your lymphatic system is already at near capacity.

Finally, it’s also worth remembering that the majority of bc patients don’t develop lymphoedema,(estimates seem to vary between 20% and 40%, depending on whose literature you read and what criteria they use to define the condition) so the odds are in your favour.

I think Roadrunner has given a very good summary of how to look after your arm. If I could just add ‘keep yourself well-hydrated’ to it, as drinking plenty of fluids dilutes the lymph fluid and hellps it to drain.

Sorry if I’ve wittered on a bit.

I’m sure you’ll have a lovely holiday, which will also do you the power of good.

X to all