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Has anyone tanned after radiation treatments were over?

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

I was just wondering if anyone either tanned outside or in a tanning booth AFTER they were done with radiation treatments. I know I can't now, but, I thought after I am done..I can. I might want to protect that area where I got "hit" with a towel or something for awhile. And, did anyone tan on Tamoxifen? It seems I read where it said that you might be sun sensitive on it, but, I hope not. I love to tan, and, am planning a trip to the Gulf this year. Anyone help me with some answers? Thank you!

p.s. sorry if this seems like a dumb question, but, i was curious and didn't know.

Marcia527's picture
Posts: 2749
Joined: Jul 2006

They told me to protect the area that was radiated from the sun. I forget who told me.

mmontero38's picture
Posts: 1532
Joined: Dec 2007

Noel, I didn't have radiation since I had a mastectomy and clean lymph nodes but I've been on Tamoxifen for 1 1/2 years now and I have been in the sun. I use SPF 15 and put it on many times while I am out in the sun. You will soon know that I am a sun worshipper. I love the sun and beach and try to spend as much time as possible there. So, if you do go out in the sun, wear sunscreen and you should be ok. Hugs, Lili

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

I normally never wear sunscreen as I tan really easily and rarely burn. ( except during radiation ) So, I should still be able to tan even while taking tamoxifen. I love to be outside, love to swim, boat anything if it is a sunny day. And, I do love my tan. So, I guess I will just protect the radiated area at first for awhile and then even though I am on tamoxifen later...get my summer tan. Thanks for the info ladies!

Posts: 826
Joined: Jun 2007

I have always burned easily, so I asked about being in the sun after radiation. My Drs. told me that I should be careful with the affected area, but once it healed up it should be back to normal. For me that has always meant strong sunscreen. I think for you, just use a bit more than you did before, but don't worry about it. My Sister was 1/2 mermaid and a "sun worshipper" too. She did not let cancer keep her off the beach!

Take care, seof

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

My radiation oncologist just told me that while I am taking the treatments..NO TANNING! So, I am not. I haven't asked him about after the treatments yet, but, I will. And, what Seof did you mean about being healed up? You mean the burn from the radiation healed up? And, I never used sunscreen. I just tan. Maybe, a little on my shoulders or back if I am on the water cause you can burn then. I am like your sister...I will not give up my sun and water! Thanks!

chenheart's picture
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003

Interesting post~ I WAS a sun-worshipper in my mis-spent youth, but as many in here already know ( this question came up recently!) my vanity-driven personality stopped sunbathing when I realized that LEATHER is made by TANNING the skin of animals! So I quit!

Vanity and my daily dose of Vitamin D from sunshine aside, our local paper had an article in it just today about the possibility of closing down all of tanning salons in the area as they pose such a health risk. It featured a 16 year old(!!!) who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma~ and the fingers were being pointed at artificial as well as natural sun being the cause. Food for thought.

So, although I did have radiation, and got the ever coveted nipple and armpit tan~ whooo hooo, I am a 50-70SPF person all the time every day!

Let us kow what you decide!

Claudia ( the Palest Person in California! LOL)

RE's picture
Posts: 4644
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Noel,

I had 16 weeks of rad over a 20 month period and I was instructed to wear hats and stay out of direct sun for a year and to wear 30 spf. I am of hispanic heritage so I usually tan easily, however that year I burned easily. Be sure to use sun protection and do get out there and enjoy yourself!!!


jo jo's picture
jo jo
Posts: 1175
Joined: Jun 2010

I love my tanning as well and I only went thru chemo...no rads and i was on tamoxifen but i talked to my onc and my PS and they both said its ok to tan in moderation but to protect my chest for awhile...like doubling a towel over it and not a bathingsuit top or bra cuz it doesnt cover the whole area...you dont want to burn your chest at all. I started out really slow like 4 minutes to start to see how my skin would react first and each time i just added another minute or two. I tan easily and never burn to but just be careful if you do cuz i found if i wouldnt have done it slow like i did i would have burned so my skin did become a little more sensitive to tanning. Just talk to your doctors before doing it. Oh yeah, i also found i dont hold my tan as long as i use to either...im hoping its only temperary. I havent been tanning since last summer so i guess i will find out once i start tanning again in April. Good luck to ya!

Posts: 6541
Joined: Oct 2010

even when I work tank top type shirt to dr appt..said must be more covered...like t shirt

I am on Tamoxifen...never lay to tan (don't have time IF i wanted to ) I am very light skin yet with radiation did NOT burn! just barley tanned in treatment area...

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I hate always being the wet blanket...sigh, but as an NP, I have to point out the obvious danger here. Breast cancer survivors have an increased risk of melanoma and tanning triples the risk of melanoma. Tanning after breast cancer is playing russian roulette with your health.

But also look at it this way. Besides Chen, my younger sister in San Diego never goes outside without sunscreen. Last time I was in S.D, we went to a cocktail party and I was struck with how many ladies were so very tanned and WRINKLED--very hard look for the over 40 crowd. And my sister looked pale, but glowing in comparison--ok, I know I'm prejudiced ;-)

" target="_blank">Melanoma and Breast Cancer; A new Warning

Tanning Beds Triple Melanoma Risk

jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 868
Joined: Jun 2010

I have to agree with your post. I cannot fathom why someone who has already had breast cancer would want to subject themselves to getting yet ANOTHER type of cancer. As to the wrinkling issue: When I was a kid I had an aunt who lived on the Jersey Shore. I always described her as looking like a raisin - dark and wrinkly. If a person insists on tanning then perhaps the spray tan would be an option. Thanks for the links, also.

Posts: 3641
Joined: Aug 2009

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

It is very real and it affects/effects your entire life when sunlight is limited. It does not matter how much I use my light box or take Vit. D - they do not give what real sunlight gives me. As I said, I have agreed that I will use sunscreen now. "Spray tan" will not give my body what it gets from real sunshine. Yes I will do just about anything I have to to prolong life but my quality of live also matters to me. I don't "insist" on tanning but i do need sunlight!


Posts: 3641
Joined: Aug 2009

Neither my Chemo Dr or Rad Dr said anything about not tanning - My PA did - but then over the years she's had to burn a few pre-cancerous lesions off of me. Actually she didn't tell me to not get in the sun - she knows I would anyway as I'm an outdoor person but did make me promise that I'd use sunscreen - never did before but I do now - she threatened to call Hubby if I didn't.

I've never done a tanning bed in my life and don't think I ever will. Have never been a 'sunworshipper' in the sense of broiling self on the beach (grew up in SW FL) but was out with the horses most of most days. I'm relatively light skinned but have never really burned.

Some of my bad rad burns (and scars) go up the right side of my neck and the worst are under arm and around to back so I keep those areas really slathered down with sunscreen.

Last summer I got a good tan without any burning.


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