- Question from Carolanne: Summer has always been my best time to be outside gardening, playing with the kids and all those fun things. But I heard that I'm supposed to avoid the sun while I'm on chemo. Is this true?
Marisa C. Weiss, M.D.
Some chemotherapy drugs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Go over this question carefully with your doctor. If you have a vacation planned, or if you enjoy being outside in warm weather, by all means go. But be sure to protect yourself against the harmful effects of the sun. This is important if you are on chemotherapy, or if you are long past finishing treatment.
Generally, you'll be safe if you use a cream or lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, or if you wear sun-protective clothing. I like clothing from a company called Sun Precautions because it effectively blocks the sun and it's nice and cool. It is a bit pricey, but the garments last a long time. You can also just wear a large, man's shirt. Let the cuffs hang down to cover your hands and fold the collar up so it covers your neck. (It's also quite stylish!) Wear a hat, too, but remember that a hat has to have a brim of at least five inches to really protect your face. But don't deprive yourself of things you enjoy doing. There's usually a solution that will allow you to enjoy yourself and stay safe at the same time.
On Wednesday, May 21, 2003, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Taking Care of Yourself. Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about exercise and nutrition, and other things you can do to nurture your body, along with strategies for finding emotional support, boosting your mood, and feeling good again.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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