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chemo and sun

Posts: 278
Joined: Jan 2009

I love beeing outside this time of year going to Oceancity in May DR said only 10 minutes in sun at a time because of chemo how bad are the side affecxts anyone know if its not life threating I can deal with it but you know drs

dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

My doctor said the chemo makes you much more sensitive to the sun and told me to use common sense, wear long sleeves and sun screen plus wear a hat or umbrella to protect my scalp (part my hair down the side and it got burned in just a few minutes on a cloudy day.)

I love to get a tan too, but don't want a serious burn or rash!

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Like Diane says, use common sense. If it is going to bother you, you'll get red very quickly and it does itch some but aloe vera calmed my down the first time and then I just learned how to deal with it.

Posts: 278
Joined: Jan 2009

I was kind of worried I have to be outside when it is nice out and get a tan

but I just wanted to make sure it was something I could deal with, I will wear a good sunscreen though. Butn as long as it wonnt make me sick I can deal with it thanks for the info

PamPam2's picture
Posts: 376
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Sherri. If you are fair you will be even more likely to burn, though I am off chemo now my blood pressure meds and fair skin make me burn easily, I bought the highest sunscreen I could find 78, it works pretty good, wearing wide brim hat helps, it also makes your eyes more sensitive sometimes, good sunglasses UV protection. You can get burnt pretty badly if you are susceptable so do take care.

Posts: 278
Joined: Jan 2009

we were posting about the same time, I will wear the sunscreen, it is hard to remember though when I am not used to wearing it boy does ca change our lives huh?

Mike49's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: Nov 2008

I watch my exposure and like people say, sunblock, hat, sleeves. Its a temporary thing, once we are done with chemo we can do more outside time. luck always


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I am going there in July, the one in NJ. I have had no trouble by using sun screen, wear a hat, stay under an umbrella, etc.
Use your common sense as everyone says. We don't all have to turn into mushrooms

Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi. I hate looking like I was locked in the attic, too, but your skin will be much more sensitive to the rays, inviting a harsher sunburn. You don't want to end up with a melanoma, too! Wear sunscreen (max level) and don't try to crisp yourself.


angelsbaby's picture
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

Here in phx it is hot, dr told my husband the same thing so when we would ride the harley he just puts the sunscreen on wore long sleves ect. i do nothing, tank top no sunscreen What can i say i grew up at the santa monica beach. I see the damage to my skin but thats just me,He still would get red even with the sunscreen on


dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

Sheri, yesterday Jim and I decided to check out the walking trails at a state park a few towns from us. We read the general info and ruled out the 3 and 6 mile 'walks', in favor of a 1/2 mile walk. Walk... NOTHING! It was a hike/ climb! We made it past the falls and to the rapids and the red trail just stopped. To the right was a flight of steps as straight up as a ladder leaned against a two story house! Well, up we went, got to the top and it gave us a blue or white trail option. I remembered one was the 6 mile 'walk' so we asked some girls coming toward us from the other trail how much farther to the end. About 45 minutes they told us. We finally made it out of the woods, two hours and four miles total, but I was in the sun much of the time even tho we were in the woods. I was very worried about my ears, scalp, hands and neck. I had a jacket I wore on and off to cover my arms but it got near 80° and I couldn't keep it on.

Not even PINK! My scalp around the part in my hair felt tight for a little while last night, but not even pink! Now chemo was 10 days prior so maybe it gets out of your system enough that time in the sun won't be so risky.

Oh, when we finally got off the trail, we found a map which shows none of the walks are round trip except the yellow and it is in another area of the park.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi sheri I can say that chemo does make a bif dif. I have very dark skin and have always tanned. I found the 5FU was the factor.....I would burn up bright red in seconds. The xeloda seems to burn too but after it is 5FU.

But Philly is right....don't want to look like a bunch of old chemo mushrooms so use lots of block and enjoy

Best love,

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Sheri,
I was only on 5FU and leucovorin (back 5 years ago!) and I love being outdoors, particularly major gardening, hiking, bicycling and canoeing. I have fair skin, major sunburns as a kid, but fine with regular sunblock as an adult. That was NOT the case on chemo.
The backs of my hands and lower forearms developed faint blotchy areas without the sun, but, boy did they get really dark in the sun, like a tan gone very bad and very uneven. I wore long sleeves after that. My onc said some people can develop that on the face.
A few times I got a sunburn on my face and legs, usually when I was out too long (with sunblock, once in a canoe) that I called "chemo burn": a red flush that didn't go away quickly, and itched and stung. Sort of what I imagine a chemical peel feeling like and not just a regular sunburn.
After that, I always wore a hat (which I hate) and sunscreen, and got a couple of made for the outdoors shirts and long pants with built in sunscreen factor, and had no futher problems. I completed chemo in July; the sensitivity grew worse by the end, and lasted right through the end of that summer. Seems fine now, but do proceed slowly; that chemical burn feel was really unpleasant, lasted for days, and was pretty unattractive!
All the best,

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I mowed and gardened when I was going thru chemo. I was outside for 4 hours or more at a time. I wore shorts and a short sleeved shirt and no sunscreen. I never sunburned super bad. The sun and the warmth from the sun felt so good. I usually wore a hat. I did not lose my hair. I was on oxiplatin.

claud1951's picture
Posts: 429
Joined: Jun 2007


I now have "chemo spots" I call them. Silly me. I would put sunscreen on my face and wear a hat (this was 2 summers ago), wear long sleeves and pants while going outside. Well, I would always roll my sleeves up, maybe twice. Not thinking of the sun on about 2/3 inches of my arm from the wrist up.

Now, a year later, that 2-3 inches has what looks like brown/age spots and that's the only place I have those.

Just make sure you have sunscreen on everywhere!

Good luck

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I wish we had some sun. They say we will tomorrow

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