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Take a Vacation From Cancer

 Photo of women holding a canoe overhead, walking to the water

As someone with cancer, have you ever thought about taking a vacation from cancer? If you're currently undergoing treatment, is it possible?

If you're in treatment right now, it may seem impossible to take time for a vacation. However, there are ways to get away, even if it's only in your mind.

Itineraries for when you can't get away

Here are some ways to take a vacation from cancer, even if they don't involve getting on a plane or going somewhere overnight.

Anything that takes your complete focus--writing in a journal (yes, about the things that bother you), focusing your breathing in meditation, pounding on drums in a drumming workshop, and many other activities--takes one on a ‘vacation' from whatever concerns he or she might have, be they about cancer or anything else.

It can be as simple as saying, "I will not do anything cancer-related on Wednesdays." For example, do not make a doctor's appointment, go to acupuncture, or read a cancer book on Wednesdays. Try to set aside an hour each day for pleasurable, self-focused time. 

Go to camp

Being treated like a regular person is a common theme at most adult oncology camp programs. These programs are places where adults with cancer and survivors can go to forget they have cancer or to bond with others who also have cancer.

Adult cancer camp programs welcome adults with active cancer and survivors. Activities may include traditional camp fare like hiking and singing around a campfire. However, some camps also offer varied activities such as pedicures, tai chi, remembrance services, and dream interpretation. Camps are held at various times of the year, ranging from once every fall to year-round. Since most camps run from two to four days, most campers take time off from their treatment to attend. However, camps will try to accommodate anyone who wants to come to camp. 

Many campers also appreciate that their fellow campers have been through similar experiences as cancer patients and survivors. 

Other vacations

In addition to adult cancer camp programs, these groups offer activities and adventure courses for adults with cancer and survivors:

  • Outward Bound offers wilderness and adventure programs that focus on personal growth. From time to time, groups such as hospitals and non-profits sponsor programs for adults with cancer and survivors through Outward Bound. For more information, visit Outward Bound.

  • Casting for Recovery hosts fly-fishing retreats across the U.S. and Canada for women with breast cancer and survivors.

  • Team Survivor runs exercise programs throughout the U.S. for women with cancer and survivors. Programs include swim clinics, snowshoe outings, and weekly walks. 

Children's cancer camps

Kids also need to take vacations from cancer. Many children with cancer go to children's cancer camps where they can be with other kids who have cancer, receive treatment, and learn new things.