Sun protection after radiotherapy

This might be a silly question but do I have to avoid the sun just on the areas that received radiotherapy or should I take greater care with other parts of my body also? Wasn’t sure if radiotherapy makes me more prone to sunburn all over or just in the treated area. Thanks!

I also wondered this. Logic tells me that it is only the treated area that needs extra protection, but sometimes your logical thoughts go out the window don’t they?

Hello Badger

Just the radiated area. I went to Southern Spain 4 months after my radiotherapy (after a mastectomy and chemo). I slapped 50SPF on that whole area, neck and the same side arm.

I also kept that side area in the shade - I became very good at moving parasols to follow the sun. This was all on the advice of my team.

After 12 months you are ok to sunbathe as if you didn’t have radiotherapy. I am extra cautious on keeping the area covered in SPF in the sun and lotion post shower.

Enjoy the summer.

Hello badger81

Thank you for your post.

It is understandable to want to be clear about sun exposure following radiotherapy treatment .It is not silly to wonder whether other parts of the of the body maybe affected by the sun after treatment it sounds like you just want to be sure to be doing the right thing.

It is recommended that you avoid exposure to the sun just in the area that you have received the radiotherapy, as @Gelbel and @scientistamafier say. It will remain sensitive for some time. It is important to know where exactly the area of radiotherapy was given to so if you are not completely sure you can ask your treatment team. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF is recommended, this includes applying the cream under the clothes too as you can get burnt through clothing.

Other treatments for breast cancer, such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun. The information on suncare after breast cancer may be helpful on the link here.

You may be interested in our Moving Forward resources that are for people who have had a diagnosis of primary breast cancer and have come to the end of their main hospital treatment within the last 2 years. They include our Moving Forward booklet and Moving Forward courses.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK - prefix 18001).

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