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Pancreatic Cancer

Transport and travel

If you are unwell, transport and travel at home and overseas may cost you more. There are schemes that can help. Here we talk to people who have pancreatic cancer about the extra costs and help they got in relation to transport and travel overseas.

Transport

Some people had applied for a disabled badge for parking (Blue Badge Scheme). William was pleased because he got a vehicle tax exemption, so didn’t need to pay.

The cost of going to and from hospital for treatment was another added expense. Petrol was expensive and sometimes people had to take a taxi. Parking at the hospital could cost money unless people had a disabled badge and could find a parking place for disabled people.

 

William was receiving the higher level of Disability Living Allowance so the government very...

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William was receiving the higher level of Disability Living Allowance so the government very...

Age at interview: 49
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 49
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And, you know, I’ve got, because I can’t walk very far I’ve got a disabled badge, which is brilliant because I can’t walk that far and I tire out.
 
That’s for the car?
 
For the car. For the, because I’ve got Higher, Higher Level Disability Living Allowance, the government will pay for the Road Fund Licence. Well, that was £100, brilliant, just before Christmas. “Thank you.” You know, I’m looking forward to handing it back and saying, “I don’t need it.” So there’s a look forward.
 
 

Rory got a Blue Badge for parking. Her insurers told her that she could remain insured if she...

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Rory got a Blue Badge for parking. Her insurers told her that she could remain insured if she...

Age at interview: 66
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 65
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Well I did, I rang my car insurance people up and said, “I'm on all these drugs” and they said, “As long as you tell us what you’re on, we’re quite happy to insure you. You’ve never had an accident”.
 
That’s good.
 
And they haven’t put my premium up. I have applied for a blue badge and I did get one. I feel a terrible fraud with it.
 
No.
 
But I do get very breathless. And ..
 
Did, how did you apply for your blue badge? Did you have to fill in lots of forms?
 
I, no, well, yes I did have to fill in a form [coughs] excuse me but I had a Macmillan nurse come to see me ..
 
And she said, “I, I’ll come to see you while you’re really well” and I haven’t seen her since. She said, “I won’t bother you unless you want me.”
 
I’ve got her number if I need her. But she did actually fill the form in for me and she sent it off for me.
 
So the Macmillan nurse helped you get the blue badge for the car?
 
Yes, she did. Yes. Yes.
 
Do you have to pay for parking at the hospital?
 
Oh yes, you still have to pay, well if you manage to get a, disabled badge holder place you don’t have to pay but on a Monday they have a huge travelling unit which comes to the hospital which takes up all the, the disabled parking spaces. So you have to go into the pay park.
 
You have to pay. Even if you’ve got a badge?
 
And it’s very expensive. Yes. I think it is slightly reduced for us, but I don’t think I pay the full whack.
 

Bob said he had to go to the hospital five times in one week for treatment. This was a 50-mile round trip each day. People on low incomes can sometimes reclaim the cost of transport to and from hospital.

As well as the cost of parking, it can be hard to find a space at the hospital. Hamish complained that he had to allow at least an extra half an hour to find a parking space.

Ben didn’t have a car so he used hospital transport. This is a free service available in some areas for people who need it.

Travel insurance

Higher travel insurance is another problem for many people who have cancer. As soon as people told their insurance company that they had pancreatic cancer, or if they mentioned the word ‘terminal’, the insurance quote shot up.

 

When Anthony’s wife was ill they found that travel insurance had become very expensive. When they...

When Anthony’s wife was ill they found that travel insurance had become very expensive. When they...

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 56
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On that, the bit that, where it always hit Martine, and we found very difficult was travel insurance. Because you do want to travel, specially if you get a terminal, a diagnosis like that and you want to go to other countries, either to see people or do a visit, to see somewhere you’ve never seen before. But you’ve been warned, the moment you apply for this, for any travel insurance, either they will refuse it straightaway when you say pancreatic cancer, or say, “Oh yes we can do that, but we need to ask you a little questionnaire.” And the questions are intrusive, like, “Is your, has your cancer been diagnosed as terminal?” And Martine, she never wanted that word. She said, “I don’t want to know that. That’s precisely what I want to block out.”, and that’s precisely what the insurance company insisted on getting an answer to. And at that point I would, or usually it was on the phone, I would say, “Can I answer on behalf of my wife?” And then they’d talk to her and say, “Is it alright if your husband answers all these questions?” And she would leave the room. And then I would do the rest of the questionnaire to, to get the insurance, because we did want to travel, and we needed the insurance in case.
 
And was it very expensive?
 
Not hugely, well we eventually took the decision not to insure for the cancer. Some of the insurance companies will say, “We will give you insurance excluding your present condition”. And because we were always going to France, and we were with either friends or family we felt confident enough to say, if suddenly she got worse we could bring her back, or we knew local people enough. So it wasn’t hugely expensive because we excluded the, the cancer from the, but if you include it, its, it was going to be very expensive indeed.
 

Some told us you can still find ‘reasonable’ insurance if you ‘look around’. John said that his bank had always covered his insurance. Richard decided to take out insurance which would cover everything except problems associated with cancer. Dorothy was able to use a letter from her consultant to get travel insurance cover that didn’t cost much more than ordinary insurance. The letter did not mention a ‘terminal prognosis’. 

Last reviewed November 2020.
Last updated November 2020.
Next review November 2023.

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