Provider Resources & Tips: Transporting Cancer Patients

Cancer treatment

Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy: Nausea and vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, increased chance of bruising and bleeding, and infection.

Common Side Effects of Radiation: Skin sensitivity or rashes, fatigue, and nausea. Radiation is a local treatment (meaning targeting a certain part of the body) and side effects are generally restricted to the affected area.

For transporting members receiving chemotherapy or radiation:

  • Be timely and considerate of appointment times. Radiation appointments are particularly sensitive. If you are 10 minutes late, the radiation appointment usually will be cancelled, and it is important that a cancer patient follow their treatment plan and appointments.
  • Keep your vehicle clean. Cancer patients can be more susceptible to infections and illness. Avoid arranging shared rides with passengers who have infectious illnesses, like the cold or flu.
  • Sometimes, a member will need a helping hand. Especially if the vehicle is above normal height from the ground, it doesn’t hurt to ask if he/she needs assistance. Be gentle and allow him/her to take time.
  • Be aware that he/she may become sick and vomit. The member may also experience dry mouth or nausea. It is helpful to have a fruit-flavored hard candy to help with dry mouth or a mint to ease nausea.
  • Do your best to let them rest. Cancer treatment therapies can be exhausting. The member may not want to talk and may fall asleep during the ride.
  • Be respectful of their condition in conversation. If the member wishes to talk, they may not want to talk about their disease. Avoid asking questions about cancer unless your questions are necessary to transport him/her comfortably and well.
  • Please refrain from relating stories about other cancer patients. Even if the story seems positive, you don’t know what may negatively affect him/her.
  • Avoid offering medical advice. Cancer differs from person to person and you may unknowingly give advice that goes against the member’s best interest.
  • Do not attempt to handle a medical emergency alone. Even if you are CPR (or otherwise) trained, if a medical situation arises, call 911 immediately.

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