Hurricane Preparedness for Oncology Patients

Hurricane Preparedness for Oncology Patients

Each year, the Atlantic hurricane season spans from June 1 to November 30. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an above average hurricane season. While we are hoping for the best, it is always a good idea to have a plan ready should a storm come our way.

For oncology patients, life has already sent a storm your way so the last thing you need is a hurricane. Fortunately, there are several tips and resources available to you to make preparations easier for you.



If you have been diagnosed with cancer or are currently undergoing treatment and have decided to evacuate, or have a mandatory evacuation order, consult your physician to develop a plan to avoid disrupting your treatment.

In the event of evacuation, be sure to have your medical records pertaining to your treatment plan, your doctor’s contact information, and a list of current medications you are taking. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a wallet card that you can download at

If you are participating in a clinical trial, make sure you have a copy of your consent form so that any physician can look up the information on If you evacuate to an area far from your medical facility, you can contact the National Cancer Institute for assistance in finding a facility in which you can continue your care. Call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Local Shelters

If you are not evacuating but cannot stay home, transportation and medical shelters may be available in your area but will likely require early registration. Medical special needs shelters provide refuge to individuals who may not be eligible for a general shelter because of their medical needs but do not require hospitalization. The shelters are a last resort, temporary living arrangement, providing care until the emergency/disaster is over and the parish of residence is safe for return.

An individual or caregiver can be assigned to a medical special needs shelter if the person needs medical assistance. When one or more shelters open, a toll-free number will be available for residents to call to determine if an individual meets admission criteria.

Shelter in Place

If you plan to stay home for a hurricane, you should still consult your physician to develop a plan to avoid disrupting your treatment. Do not be afraid of asking for help from family, friends or neighbors. Perhaps you can offer a spare bedroom to a loved one for assistance during a storm or maybe they can offer you a place to ride out the storm where you will not be alone. Either way, it is always a good idea to make sure family and friends know what your plan is during a storm. It is important to also make sure you have the necessary supplies, medical equipment, nutrients, medications, sanitation supplies and access to clean water. Find out where your nearest emergency room is and know the different route possibilities to get there.


Whatever your plans, we have provided a checklist of recommended supplies to have on hand:

Oncology Patient Preparedness Checklist

Whether you evacuate, seek refuge in a shelter or stay home, it is imperative to communicate with the necessary people and ensure that you have support available from a family member or caregiver before, during and after the storm and that they are aware of your plans.

After the storm, be aware of water advisories. Many cancer patients are at a higher risk for infection and tap water may not be safe to consume after the storm. If you do not have access to clean water for hand washing, utilize hand sanitizers.