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Get Well Soon

Helping you make a speedy recovery after surgery to remove a cancer of the gullet or upper stomach


There are no hard and fast legal rules about when you can drive; some patients may be fit to drive a month or so after the operation, others will take longer. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice, and check the views of your insurance provider.

The doctor’s decision will depend on your own health, medical condition, and personal circumstances and whether you are a Group 1 (car or motor cycle) or Group 2 (bus or lorry) licence holder.

Your insurance company should always be informed about your operation. Some companies will not insure you for up to 4 weeks after an oesophagectomy, so it is important to understand what your policy says.

Before resuming driving, you will need to be fully recovered from your surgical procedure. You should also be free from the distracting effect of pain, or the sedative or other effects of any pain-relief medication you are taking, to be able to concentrate fully on driving.

You should be comfortable in the driving position and able to safely control your car, including freely performing an emergency stop without causing yourself any pain or soreness, and without damaging your operation wound.

It is not advisable to begin driving with long trips; to start, try shorter journeys nearer home.

In the early weeks, the motion of the car can cause some patients to experience quite severe nausea and even reflux when driving.

Driving – Notifying DVLA

After oesophagectomy, you do not need to notify the DVLA unless instructed to do so by your doctor. However, higher medical standards are required for those holding a Class 2 licence, so for reasons of safety and comfort, your doctor may advise you to delay driving for a little longer. You should also speak with your employer.

Check the DVLA website for further information.


Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in control of the vehicle at all times and to feel confident that you would be able to demonstrate this if asked.


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