Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, droughts, blizzards and floods can wreak havoc on anyone's daily life. But, if you're being treated for breast cancer, a natural disaster can make things even more complicated. Having to evacuate your home is scary but if you are a breast cancer patient this adds an extra layer of concern.
According to Breastcancer.org, a non-profit organization which provides the up-to-date information about breast cancer, being prepared can reduce some of the anxiety that comes with suddenly being displaced from normal life. Here are some tips to be prepared in case you have to evacuate your home.
Secure the following documents and items in a water-proof freezer bag:
• Doctor’s names, addresses, phone/fax numbers who are treating you
• Pill bottles. You need the exact name and dosages of your medicines. If you fill prescriptions at chain pharmacies (CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, etc.), you can take your bottles to any branch in the United States for a refill. If you have Internet access, you can also refill via online pharmacies
• Copies of your pathology reports, lab reports and any other medical records
• Notes about your treatment regimen. Include the following information:
o Names and dosages of chemotherapy medications
o Names and dosages of anti-nausea or pain medications
o The name and dosage of hormonal therapy medication
o The dosage and duration of radiation treatments
o Name and dosage of any targeted therapies (Herceptin-chemical name- trastuzumab; Tykerb-chemical name-lapatinib; Avastin-chemical name-bevacizumab; etc.)
Also, if you know the destination of your temporary location do some advance research. Develop a list of hospitals/medical centers on the way to your destination in case you have to stop for a medical emergency (a high fever, redness/swelling/infection at a surgical incision, uncontrolled bleeding, uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea).
In the midst of a disaster, it's possible that you may not be able to reach your doctor or hospital. If that happens, you can call 1-800-4CANCER to find treatment centers near you.