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The Sun Has Got His Hat On

Posted by: Information & support 25 July 2012

Staying safe in the sun while on chemotherapy.

It's hotting up outside - the summer weather we've been waiting for! We asked our Support Manager and nurse Jeni to put together a few tips on staying safe in the sun:

If you are currently receiving chemotherapy, then the increase in temperature might cause you to feel uncomfortable. In addition, many chemotherapy agents can increase your sensitivity to the sun, causing you to burn more easily. Very hot weather can also decrease your appetite, so be aware of this.


It is important to follow the usual advice related to sun exposure, such as:

  • Avoiding the hottest time of the day -  i.e. 12 - 3pm.
  • Staying in the shade whenever possible.
  • Wearing a wide brimmed hat to cover the head and neck, and if sensitive to the sun, wearing long sleeve shirts/tops.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes - for some people undergoing chemotherapy, the sun can cause the eyes to water excessively.
  • Ice-lollies, cool drinks and chilled fruit can be used to snack on (unless you are receiving a platinum based drug, which can cause sensitivity to the cold).
  • Increase your fluid intake where possible (2litres minimum per day), to avoid dehydration. Try and ensure half of this is water, if possible.
  • Apply sun cream regularly with adequate sun protection factor. You can ask the pharmacist about the SPF needed, or your doctor. Make sure you don't use out of date sun cream, and always check on the back of the bottle for the length of time they last once opened.
  • Use a lip balm with a sun protection factor to protect the lips.
  • The use of hand-held fans can help to keep you cool.
  • Sun can also be draining, so rest often throughout the day.
  • Importantly, enjoy it! While it lasts!!