For people with cancer, transportation can be a major issue. While everyday trips like going to the store or running errands can be difficult enough, transportation becomes a bigger issue when you have to get to your medical appointments and treatment solutions.
Not having access to adequate transportation can hinder your recovery and add stress, making it even more difficult to stay strong and maintain a positive attitude throughout treatment.
Thankfully, even if you don’t have a vehicle or aren’t able to drive yourself, there are resources you can reach out to and options to consider when you need transportation. Your quality of care shouldn’t depend on whether you can drive. Let’s cover a few of those solutions, so you’ll never have to miss an important appointment or experience a lesser quality of life.
Why You Shouldn’t Drive
As many as 30% of people with cancer skip their appointments regularly. One of the biggest reasons why is a lack of transportation. That doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have access to a vehicle or don’t know how to drive. But, your diagnosis and/or treatment could make it difficult or dangerous to get behind the wheel on your own, and you may be hesitant to ask someone else for help. If you’re going through radiotherapy or chemotherapy, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms like
- Impaired motor skills
- Difficulty concentrating
Obviously, it’s not a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’re struggling with any of those problems. Treatment impacts everyone differently, so until you know which side effects impact you the most, it’s a good rule of thumb to have someone else drive you to and from your appointments.
Even certain medications can impair your driving ability, so you might need to rely on someone to help you with everyday errands, too. If you’ve had “near misses”, multiple accidents, or multiple traffic warnings or citations, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to stop driving yourself until you’re off certain medications or until you’re able to build your physical and mental strength.
Reach Out to Resources
One of the best ways to find transportation to your appointments is by utilizing resources specifically designed for people with cancer. The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is one of the most popular transportation solutions. It offers free transportation to and from appointments, and all you need to do is visit their website and provide information about your location and schedule.
If you’re not able to find a Road to Recovery driver near you, consider reaching out to local church groups or the hospital you use for your treatment. Often, they will have volunteers or special services designed to provide transportation for those in need. While they might not be limited to people with cancer, as long as they are a trusted organization and are willing to work with your schedule, these are great resources to keep in mind.
Finally, reach out to your insurance company. Some companies reimburse people in need for any fares they might have to pay on public transportation, while others have programs that provide rides to their clients if there are no other options.
We haven’t officially perfected self-driving vehicles yet, but it’s coming! Learning more about the technological advancements in the auto industry can help you look for better safety features in your next vehicle, including things like
- Lane assist
- Blind spot detection
- Parking assist
Some vehicles will even brake automatically if they sense a potential collision, which can be a huge help if you’re having trouble focusing or you’re tired after a treatment. Using technology to make driving safer and easier for you can build your confidence if you have no other choice but to transport yourself. However, technology isn’t perfect and there are still risks involved. If possible, it’s still safer to have someone else transport you while you’re undergoing treatment.
To that end, you can use ridesharing apps to help you get to your appointments. Uber created a dashboard specific to healthcare organizations that allows them to schedule car rides for patients. UberHealth gives providers the opportunity to coordinate rides for patients who might otherwise not have access to transportation. The Patient Empowerment Network’s digital sherpa™ program teaches cancer patients tech skills, including how to use ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Thus, patients using the program always have access to transportation.
If you truly have no other transportation options, you can use technology to your advantage by utilizing telehealth. While some appointments will always need to be in person, including radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatments, you can practice better self-management and improve remote monitoring by connecting with your doctor online. Many physicians have their own digital portals, but even a video call can ensure you and your medical team are on the same page when it comes to your treatment.
Transportation difficulties should never keep you from getting the treatment you need. Keep these solutions in mind to keep yourself safe as you drive to and from appointments, and consider reaching out to family members or friends who might be able to help, too. You’re never going to burden someone with your request, and a lack of transportation shouldn’t be a reason to skip out on the treatments you need to beat the disease.
Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for tech, health, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.