Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Social life and activities during chemotherapy

Nurse and patients talking about cancer

This page has information about how cancer treatment can affect your social life and holidays. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

During chemotherapy you may not always be able to do everything you would normally take for granted. But you don't need to put your social life on hold completely. There's no reason to stop going out or visiting friends. You may just need to plan ahead a bit more.

This means thinking about things such as taking anti sickness tablets before you go out for a meal, checking with your doctor about whether you can drink alcohol and resting during the day if you tire easily and want to go out in the evening.

You do need to avoid people with infections, including children who have childhood diseases such as chicken pox. Your doctor may advise you and your family to have the seasonal flu vaccine to reduce your risk of getting flu.  Talk to your specialist about the best time to have the vaccination.

Many people like to plan a holiday for the end of their treatment. Our travelling and cancer section has information about how to plan and get the most out of your holiday, including information about vaccinations and how travelling may affect you.

PDF Download symbol You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the living with Chemotherapy section.

 

Your social life

During chemotherapy you may not always be able to do the things you take for granted. But you don't need to stop your social life completely. There's no reason to stop going out or visiting friends. You may just find you need to plan ahead a bit more. 

  • If you're going out at night it can help to get some rest during the day  – you'll have more energy for the evening 
  • If you want to go out for a meal, if you think you need to you can take some anti sickness pills before you go
  • Drinking a little alcohol probably won't affect most types of chemotherapy – but check with your doctor before you drink
  • To avoid getting an infection always eat freshly cooked food and avoid having raw meat, fish, eggs, soft cheese and take away foods
  • If you have an important social event coming up – ask your doctor whether your treatment can be arranged so that you are between chemotherapy treatments that week.

Although you should be able to do pretty much as you like, it makes sense to avoid family or friends who have infections. If you have not had chicken pox, you should avoid people who may have chicken pox. Let your doctor know if you think you may have been in contact with someone who could have chicken pox. There is no risk to you from babies and children who have been vaccinated. It is safe for you to be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections. There can be problems with oral vaccines, but not many people in the UK have oral vaccines now. 

Your doctor may advise you and your family to have the seasonal flu vaccine to reduce your risk of getting flu.  It is important to have the flu jab before the virus starts to circulate in the population. This is most likely to happen during the winter months. If you are in the middle of chemotherapy treatment, you should talk to your specialist about the best time to have the vaccination. Your immune system is weaker when you’re having chemotherapy, which means the vaccine may not work quite so well. Your specialist will tell you when it is best to have a flu jab to get the greatest chance of protection. You can find out more about having the flu vaccine and cancer in the question and answer section.

 

Holidays

Many people like to plan a holiday for the end of their treatment. It is something to mark the end of your chemotherapy and something to look forward to. Hopefully it will allow you to rest and begin to get back to normal. But there are a few extra things you need to think about. The travelling and cancer section has information about how to plan and get the most out of your holiday including information about

You may enjoy your trip more if you wait for a few weeks after your last treatment. Some people find the end of their treatment quite difficult. Although you will be pleased the treatment is at an end, it can feel quite strange to start focusing on other things again. It is up to you, but waiting a few weeks may give you some time to adjust back into normal home life with a holiday to look forward to. You can then go off on holiday without worrying how you will cope when you get home.

Rate this page:
Submit rating

 

Rated 4 out of 5 based on 10 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 17 April 2013