Moving to France with cancer

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Moving to France with cancer

Post by Beth030 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:30 pm

Hi, I am posting on behalf of my parents who are both extremely keen to fulfill a lifelong dream and move to France after living and working in the country for five years before my brother and I were born.

My mum was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer in October 2013 and after seven months in remission she got the news that the cancer had returned in October last year. She is due to finish her last course of chemotherapy on Friday before being put on intravenous Avastin every three weeks indefinitely as a maintenance drug.
I believe Avastin is used as a standard treatment in France rather than the postcode lottery it is in the UK (it has now been scrapped for use on those patients who have not already had it prescribed).

My parents want to retire to the South of France, but are concerned about whether or not my mum will have access to the same cancer treatment that she has in the UK, while not relinquishing her rights to treatment in the UK should they need to come home or decide to split their time between France and the UK.

The do not intend on working and hope to live off savings.

Any advice people can offer would be much appreciated as their research so far has drawn a blank.

Kind regards,


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Re: Moving to France with cancer

Post by pennycsf » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:54 am

Hello Beth,

The immediate problem that comes to mind is whether your parents will be able to access the French health system without having to pay privately. If they are over state retirement age then this shouldn't be a problem, if they are below that then, I am afraid, it will. If they retain their main residence in UK then they can use an EHIC to obtain treatment in France and I have no doubt that your Mum will be able to continue her chemotherapy or tablet treatment here. There is no postcode lottery and on the whole the drugs that are most suited to the patient are available.

To find out about the EHIC, have a look at this: ... -ehic.aspx

She would need her full dossier from her UK oncologist, otherwise, this has worked well in the past.

I assume that your parents have thought about where in France they would like to live. If you could be a little more precise (the south stretches a long way!) it might be worth while you contacting the CSF association closest. They may have information about facilities in their area.

If you have a bit more information, then do post again and I can check which association might be useful to you.

Best wishes to you all
Penny (PS my part of the south of France today is freezing cold with a 100 km wind BUT the sun is shining!)

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Re: Moving to France with cancer

Post by Beth030 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:02 pm

Hi Penny, thank you for your response.

My mum is 60, so is not yet entitled to the state pension, although she will be able to draw on her private pension from April this year.

They are hoping to move to Languedoc or areas around there.

Just to clarify, are you saying that if mum was to retain main residence in the UK she would be able to have her standard maintenance in France when they were visiting? I always thought that the EHIC only entitles you to emergency treatment.

I wonder whether they would have better access to the French healthcare system if they were to run a small business while living in France?

All advice is gratefully received.

(The weather there doesn't sound much different to the weather in Lancashire right now :) )

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