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Topic: Flying while on Tamoxifen

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During, and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Jun 11, 2019 10:42PM

AMLMom wrote:

This may be a silly question but should I be wearing compression socks during a long-haul flight or a compression stocking just for my one arm where nodes were received? I have seen reference in articles to breast cancer patients on tamoxifen wearing compression socks. So two socks and two arm sleeves? Or just socks, or just one sleeve? I’m so confused!! I would appreciate any advice

Dx 11/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/13/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Reconstruction (left) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 12, 2019 04:03AM Sjacobs146 wrote:

I'd check with your doctor. I don't wear any compression sleeves or socks when I fly, but I don't have any signs of lymphadema

Dx 8/26/2014, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/24/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/26/2015 Breast Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 12, 2019 07:05AM Ingerp wrote:

I don't either. Never had any signs of lymphedema.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/22/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/19/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/17/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/12/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/17/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/17/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/19/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jun 12, 2019 08:46AM dtad wrote:

I think that's a very good question for the docs. Tamoxifen increases your chance of blood clots and so does flying so that's the issue there. As far as compression sleeves IMO they are not necessary without any signs of lymphedema. Good luck and keep us posted.

Dx 3/20/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/10/2015, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/21/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 12, 2019 09:15AM - edited Jun 12, 2019 09:19AM by viewfinder

Two oncologists and a surgeon recommended I wear a sleeve and a glove for travel. But the majority of cancer patients I've read in this forum say they don't wear them. I'M CONFUSED!

The sleeve and glove will cost me $240 ... nothing covered by insurance so it's out-of-pocket...and I'm still chocking at the cost of the ticket). I have no signs of lymphedema that I'm aware. The flight is three thousand miles one way, including getting up very early for the shuttle ride to the airport, two hour wait before takeoff, 7 1/2 flight , then at least an hour ride to my sister's home from the airport. Talking 13-14 hours travel...if things go as expected.

Will I be Penny Wise, Pound Foolish if I don't get the sleeve and glove? Is it worth the potential risk to not wear them? I could sure use the $240 instead of spending it on something I'm only going to use once. (I'm 75 and pretty sure this will be my last trip by plane).

btw, I did get isle seats (which I usually hate) because I've been told I should move my left arm around a lot during the flight. Have a long list of dos and dont's gleaned from doing research.

Thanks for any additional thoughts and insights.


“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. – C. S. Lewis Dx 4/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 6/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 9/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 12, 2019 09:30AM edj3 wrote:

I'm not on tamoxifen at the moment (still in radiation treatments) and I'm meeting with the lymphedema specialist at 2 this afternoon for much the same sort of thing.

I'll be flying to Idaho (about a four hour flight), then spending the week at much higher elevation than where I live (7000 feet vs 900 feet).

Plus I'm an avid fitness nut and know from past experience that I tend to over do things. So for me it's probably worth it to shell out the money.

So that's one perspective.

Dx 4/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Surgery 5/6/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 5/31/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jun 12, 2019 11:31AM ksusan wrote:

At the recommendation of my nurse, MO, and PT: On flights over ~4 hours, and sometimes on them, too, I wear compression stockings and gauntlets/sleeves (I had nodes out on both sides), stay hydrated, get up at least every 2 hours and do squats plus leg and arm flexes, and a manual lymphatic drainage. In the absence of good research, I would rather over-do my precautions than risk LE.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 12, 2019 06:51PM AMLMom wrote:

Thank you so much. I’m going to Singapore from Toronto, so It’s a long flight! I asked the pharmacist but she had no idea. She said it should be fine, but it sounds like others are getting different advice. Iwill call the MO tomorrow and ask him.

Dx 11/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/13/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Reconstruction (left) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 13, 2019 06:26AM gb2115 wrote:

The arm sleeve stuff is controversial, but tamoxifen increases your risk of clots. Get up and move a lot, pump your legs while sitting, and drink water. Hopefully your MO told you that. Mine said don't sit for more than 2 hours.

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Jun 13, 2019 09:19AM viewfinder wrote:

AMLMom, I read your original question again and hope I'm not misunderstanding when you asked about wearing a compression stocking for the arm where nodes were removed.

It is my understanding that over the counter compression stockings won't do. The compression arm and glove need to be measured and fitted by a specialist. Part of my cancer treatment was having lymphedema education. As I'm getting ready to travel next month, I went to a special store that measured my arm and hand. I have to order it soon, as it could take up to two weeks to get.

Lymphedema Risk During Air Travel

The specialist didn't mention wearing compression socks but it's a good question.

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. – C. S. Lewis Dx 4/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 6/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 9/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 13, 2019 09:19AM SpecialK wrote:

If you do not require a custom sleeve/gauntlet/glove you can buy online from a reputable supplier for less than $100 per set. I get my sleeves and gauntlets from a durable medical equipment supplier but I go through them because my insurance covers my costs. The exact same products I am prescribed can be ordered online here:

https://www.lymphedemaproducts.com/products/juzo-soft-2000-arm-sleeve.html

https://www.lymphedemaproducts.com/products/juzo-soft-gauntlet-ac.html

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3
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Jun 13, 2019 06:44PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

SpecialK,

How did you determine your compression needs initially? I have bought sleeves/gauntlets on line, but only after my LE therapist measured me. I would not have known how to determine the correct size/compression level on my own

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jun 14, 2019 02:58AM - edited Jun 16, 2019 01:30AM by SpecialK

exbrnxgirl - I was initially diagnosed and treated by a certified LE therapist at an NCI center. She wrote me a prescription for the degree of compression and the specific garments I required and gave me a list of providers that I could see. I still see the same provider for replacement sleeves and gauntlets (I wear bi-lat) because they bill my insurance. If I want extra sets I can order online. For someone undiagnosed wearing compression prophylactically the lightest level of compression (20-30 mmHg) would likely be appropriate, but if patients are being advised to wear compression for prevention by physicians or therapists I hope they are including this information.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3

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