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Sun Sensitivity Advice please ?

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Posters. I will shortly return to the Southern Hemisphere where it will be mid Summer and I will be exposed to a lot more sun. The Doctors said not to go out in the sun during my treatment (RT and Erbitux) but I am unsure of how long that should be for ?? I am in my 8th week post treatment.

Obviously i need to be careful anyway as I am fair but to what extent should I be careful i.e. 100% covered up all the time ???

And What does happen if you get exposure beyond what would normally be regular sunburn.

While I will check again with my Onc. it is always good to get feedback from those actually going through it or having been there for some time. Does this precaution last 10 years ???

All Responses welcome.


Landranger25's picture
Posts: 208
Joined: Nov 2009

Not sure if I can be helpful regarding your question. I had thought the "stay out of the sun" order was only during chemo. Something with the chemo that impaired your skins ability to protect itself from the rays of the Sun. (Let's see, so I am to stay out of the Sun's radiation but everyday for 6 weeks the radiologist is going to exceed the governments reccomended allowable radiation limit) Around the 2nd chemo when it was still nice in September I felt good enough to go out and mow the lawn on the tractor and one of the chemo nurses chastised me because i didn't put on sunscreen. (Just a hat and long sleeve shirt and pants) Anyways, I haven't concerned myself with the sun for a couple of months now which hasn't been a problem here in Michigan. look forward to add'l comments.


soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Always best to talk to OncoMan :). In the meantime, I would advise that radiation therapy does not end when the treatment ends: radiation continues to 'cook' for some time after the last treatment. I have heard varying reports about exactly how long that is, but maybe OncoMan can help you with that one.

In any case, it is fairly evident that one should be out and about in the sun for about an hour a day to get a proper 'dose' of vitamin D, when one is clear of all of the treatment hazards.

In my case, the radiation doc never advised me about staying out of the sun. Only OncoMan, my chemotherapist, did, and only with respect to the chemo.

I can tell you that while I did no nude sun-bathing (and the world is rather thankful for that, I am sure), I really never worried about it. That may be my bad, but I am doing okay so far.

Enjoy your time on the other side of the equator, but DO have that talk with OncoMan. He may be more concerned about your immune system than the sun, depending on where you are going.

Take care,


Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Guys, thanks for your feedback. I saw Oncoman yesterday and he said it was not problem to go out in the sun since I had finished treatment. I was concerned because I have developed a few obvious solar keratosis (Small flakey patches of skin) on the face. These need to be burnt off with liquid nitrogen by a skin can Cancer Dr or GP. I usually get a bunch burnt off either once or twice a year by a specialist. I still therefore need to do the hat and Sunscreen etc

As I had Ebritux, my face blistered and I got a whole lot of new skin. The effect is that it can rejuvenate all the skin layers so reduces the recurrence of getting these Solar Keratosis. The problem for people with long term skin damage is that these solar Keratosis apparently continually appear from damage done even as a child and as I grew up on the Australian Coast, I was alway exposed and Skin Cancer awareness was not big back then and I never listened to my mum of course. The Solar Keratosis are 'Pre-cancerous' and can turn into Squamous Cell Carcinomas hence they need to be treated.

There is a topical Chemo people use now in the same family as Erbitux called 'Efudex' which has the same effect. It's pretty awful with the same blistering and peeling of the applied area but the new skin is almost as good as a face lift and it apparently removes the deep layers of skin where damaged cells are waiting to emerge.

I was hoping the Erbitux would have the same effect but obviously I still have some damaged cells so its back to the Skin Cancer guy for a few more blasts from the Liquid Nitrogen gun.

Thanks again for your comments.


SASH's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Apr 2006

Rad onc told me to stay out of the sun because of the amount of rads I had. Mine was approximately 30 years worth so now if I am going to be out in the sun for any extended period of time, a hat and sunscreen is required.

Ask the Rad Onc or their nurses about this as it might differ based upon how many rads you had.

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