Hi folks,

I had a mastectomy last December. Then 6 doses of Taxotere and 21 doses of Rads. I have now had my first dose of Herceptin which is only causing minimal side effects but I do have moderate Lymphoedema in my arm. I have managed to fit in 3 holidays which have all been within 2 1/2 hours of home. Now I am looking forward to going further and that will probably be the Canaries.

Problem: I am feeling very apprehensive about traveling so far from home. Anyone out there who can reassure me?

hi emmbee I did not have a mastectomy but finished my treatment in march and we went on holiday to Malta at the beginning of June.I like youself was very apprehensive but got on okay.Put high factor cream on even when not out in sun and kept putting it on all day long.I kept my chest area covered with a blouse except when on sun beds and even managed to go in the water and thankfully had no bad effects.If you are careful then you should be okay but if your unsure phone your bc nurse or bc helpline and they can put your mind at rest.Hope that helps a little.Good luck. Joyce

Hi Emmbee

I went to the Canaries twice years ago when I had mild lymphoedema in only one arm and had a great time.

Don’t forget to wear you sleeve during the flights, drink lots of fluids all the time (inc on the aircraft) and swim as much as you can or like to - relaxing and good for the big L. And use plenty of high factor suncream all over, but especially on your lymphoedema arm to stop it getting sunburnt.

You might want to ask your GP for some prophylactic antibiotics in the hopefully unlikely(?)event of an attack of cellulitis. An EHIC and travel insurance is a must, of course.

If you can get a seat with extra legroom somehow, I would say go for it - helps with overall comfort levels. I find a little towel or cushion placed on the armrest makes my elbows less sore when I’m flying.

I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time, feel truly relaxed and all the better for having gone.



Hi Emmbee,

I have been abroad twice since my mastectomy in 2006.
Another tip, as a precaution, I always spray the top of my affected arm with insect repellant before going out in the sun. The last thing you want on holiday are insect bites on your arm!

Enjoy your hol.

Rosie x

Dear Joyce, S and Rosie,

Thanks for your replies. I have taken in all you have said and will follow your advice. I have the EHIC and can get insurance so I will be covered that way. Sun cream and insect repellent will be at the top of my shopping list you can be sure. I don’t have a sleeve for my arm but I will discuss that with my BCN.

You are all very helpful,



I have recently been to Greece & Malta. I have lymphoedema. I obtained prophylactic antibiotics from gp before I went. Fortunately I didnt need them. I used very high factor on arm. Nivea 40 which is effective after just one application. Did have sleeve which I wore on flight and a day after. Also insect repellant. No problems. Had more problem at home in hot weather. Enjoy yourself.

Thanks starfish, I will look for Nivea 40.

My GP is very good at supplying me with whatever I need when I go on holiday.

I am not planning to go until November but you are all making me want to get on a plane now.



Hi Emmbee

Odd that you have ‘moderate’ lymphoedema and haven’t been given a sleeve. Could yours be just ‘mild’? (That would be good!)

I would say that it’s a good idea to get a sleeve for flying. There is a well-founded school of thought that wearing a sleeve when flying can reduce the risk of developing lymphoedema in at-risk arms and it’s a must if you already have lymphoedema. You only have to look at what reduced cabin pressure does to ordinary feet (puffy ankles, etc) and water bottles!

The Canaries in November sounds perfect - lovely and warm day and night without the ferocious, full-on, summer heat.



Hi S,

I will certainly have a word with my BCN about a sleeve to wear when I am flying. The Lymphoedema is only on the lower part of my arm and some times goes into my fingers. I have some under my arm as well.

You were going to post something about body brushing being good for Lymphoedema. Did you find it?



Hi M

Yes, I did find the bodybrushing info’.

I’d cut it out from a Sunday supplement a few years ago.

I’ve scanned it in and if you’d like to see it, just pm me your e-mail address and I’ll gladly ping it on.