Planning for travel

MPN Travel planningBeing diagnosed with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) doesn’t mean that you can never travel abroad or go on holiday again, but it is advisable to plan ahead with researching the right insurance and ensuring you have the correct medication before you travel.

Medical advice

Tell your medical team: Always consult with your medical care team, the nurse/travel clinic regarding your illness and medications you are taking and if necessary inform your consultant and do consider any potential health problems and your fitness for travelling. 

Check if you need jabs: Check with the practice nurse in your local GP’s surgery to see if you need any vaccinations prior to travel.  Some vaccinations (especially “live vaccines” see below)are not suitable for people on certain MPN medications or with particular conditions.  Check with your GP and/or haematologist to see if vaccinations are suitable for you.

Live vaccines: if you have a weakened immune system due to treatment or low white blood counts you should not have live vaccines and this may affect your choice of holiday destination.  Live vaccinations include BCG, (tuberculosis), MMR, (measles, mumps and rubella), oral typhoid and yellow fever you need to check vaccine safety with your haematology team as this list is not exhaustive.

Inactivated vaccines: These vaccines are not dangerous to patients with MPNs but may be less effective if your immunity is low.  These vaccines include, Hepatitis A and B, influenza, rabies and meningococcal meningitis.

Consider insurance cover

It is very important to seriously consider getting insurance in case you become ill or have an accident while on holiday to provide medical expenses cover while you are outside the UK and/or need to be flown back to the UK in an emergency. Check our travel leaflet for more details.

The European Health Insurance Card
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers you when you travel within mainland Europe, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland. The EHIC has replaced the E11 form.

The card entitles you to free or reduced cost medical services while in Europe for emergencies, but it does not cover the cost of medical evacuation or help getting back to the UK.

The card covers management of chronic conditions, maternity care and renal dialysis. It reduces many medical costs, and some treatments may be available free of charge. To apply for a card telephone 0300 330 1350 or apply online.

Do be aware though, that some European countries will expect you to pay towards your medical care while abroad and you will be able to claim back costs on your return to the UK. The amount reimbursed will only be the equivalent cost of care under the NHS. Remember to keep all receipts. You can claim back by visiting (for up to seven days) or 0845 6062030 (for up to 10 days), or you can obtain an application form from your local post office.

Try to apply for your refund before you return home. Find out how to do this in the country-by-country guide.

Purchasing insurance coverage

Check for exclusions: Many insurance companies are reluctant to insure patients who already have an illness and may ask you to take a related exclusion.  It is probably advisable not to accept this offer.

Provide details: Insurance companies assess all applications individually. For this reason, when applying for cover it is always useful to provide as much detail as possible.  If necessary, you can ask your consultant to write a letter stating your current diagnosis, related problems and medications and general health status.

Shop around: You may need to phone a few different companies to compare prices and to find one that gives you the cover that you need. 

For more information check our travel leaflet for more details.

Other websites for useful planning and research

Fit for Travel - health information for travelling abroad and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.