Warmer weather

Hi all,

As there has been a ‘decent’ weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend I have copied a post we put up last year by Tara, one of BCC’s Clinical Nurse Specialists regarding care in the sun.

Jo, Facilitator

Staying safe in the sun is really important for everyone, as over recent years we have seen an increase in skin cancers, and whilst this is still one of the most curable cancer sadly some people do die from the disease.

When a person has been treated for breast cancer there are certain extra precautions to take when in the sun;

During chemotherapy try not to sit in the direct sunlight for very long, avoid the midday time when the sun is at its hottest, cover the skin up with a high factor sun cream and where long sleeve tops. Chemotherapy makes the skin more sensitive, and therefore more prone to sun burn.

During radiotherapy, keep the area being treated covered up. Talk with your radiotherapy department about what factor suncream they advice, most will say factor 15 and above for this country and higher if traveling abroad. It is best not to apply suncream to the area being treated, but to keep this area completely covered from the sun.

For those on hormone treatments, it is not known that hormone treatments make the skin sensitive. Good skin care is advised, wearing only factor 15 and above in the UK and higher when traveling abroad. For many people on hormone treatments hot flushes can be a problem, and the hot weather can make these worse. Wearing loose cotton clothing, drinking plenty of water and keeping out of direct sunlight can help.

There are many different skin types and some are more sensitive than others to the sun, and therefore more likely to burn in the sun. Boots the high street chemist have excellent trained staff to assess a person’s skin type, and advise about suncream both for the UK and when traveling abroad.

As a general rule I would always suggest going higher rather than lower in suncream factors, having a sunburn is really not worth the risks involved.

Enjoy the good weather, long may it last!!


could I ask for how long you need to be careful of the rads burn area. I finished on new year’s eve this year and am going abroad in the summer

I finished rads in mid-february and am now on tamoxifen, have just had a weeks holiday in Majorca, I’m a bit of a sun-worshipper but couldn’t cope with the sun on my skin at all, I used a high factor sun cream but the sun just felt so unbearably hot on my skin. I’ve spent this week-end in the garden but I’ve followed the shade and have still enjoyed the weather.

Hi Lily

My hosp told me to keep the rads area completely out of the sun for a year after the finish of rads.

Hi Lolly73 just reading your comments about sunbathing and at the hosp last week the doc said I could go into the sun as long as I had on high factor cream but he said I did not need to keep the area that the treatment was on completely covered.So we all seem to be told various things.I have been sitting on tonight for a while when it was cooler but like you Olwen2 found although sun was not very strong,it felt a lot hotter than it should have.I am going to Malta next week and am very apprehensive in case its very hot and I can’t cope.Good to read your letters.Joyce

Hi Scobie,
Although I had quite a miserable time on holiday it hasn’t put me off sunshine holidays, we’re going back to Majorca in September and I’m going to adopt a different approach to my holiday, instead of concentrating on getting a tan I’m going to enjoy the weather from under a sunshade, I’m going to take cover ups with me for when we go for a walk.
I am convinced that the reason that my skin is now so sensitive is due to the tamoxifen, this is something that I have definately never experienced before.
Enjoy your holiday and make the most of it.
Take care Olwen

interesting point Olwen as I am on Tamoxifen too. The year before my dx I went to Malta for 2 weeks in August and did not even start tanning till day 8, despite really trying to get a tan (it was over 40 C). It seems to bounce off me for ages before i get any reaction. This year we are in May and one afternoon of sun has me looking rosey on the neck and arms, fortunately not sore. Please let me know how you all get on, I will be buying higher factor sun cream for Turkey this year I think. My rads hospital said no sun on the actual area for a year and don’t put suncream on it. The doc at the other hospital said you don’t need to worry at all, when its over thats it? I agree, wish they would get their act together and sing from the same songsheet on this.
Take care everyone
Lily x

Hi Lily I feel the same as you different people telling you different things.One doc told me also not to put suncream on operation site and when I was at the hospital last week the one I saw then said yes do! Who do you listen to! I have been out in the garden when its cooler at night and have been putting it on just to be on safe side.I like you feel myself burning quicker so will have to be very careful when i’m away next week.Anyone going away shortly have a good time and take care.Joyce xx

I don’t think they know whether radiotherapy makes you more at risk from sun or not. I found radiotherapy tanned my skin so when I went out in the sun without any factor anything on, the bits that burned were the unradiated areas.

I am now 53 so I reckon if I do get skin cancer it’s going to be quite late in my life and it’s not that difficult to spot skin changes which are in front of you - I’m more worried about moles on my back which I can’t see to monitor.

Most skin cancers are curable if caught early


I am just back from a fortnight in Turkey and thought it might be helpful to let you know how I got on in the sun. I really didn’t have a great plan but took SF 30, 25, 15 and 10 with me. I would normally start on 15 before rads,etc. I was careful for the first 3 days to keep SF25 on and covered the rads area. This quickly went to pot as the sun got me while in the pool so the area got tanned without me going through the decision of whether I should. It was fine, no after effects and I am very brown now. I did cover up when out on trips for long days and when on a boat trip but the rest of the time just carried on as usual. Please take care if you are sensitive to the sun or fair though as I am not.
Have fun
Lily x

Hi Lily glad you enjoyed your holiday in Turkey and had no adverse effect from the sun.If people are sensible they should be okay.You will be all tanned and the rest of us are all brown with rust!take care Joyce

thanks Joyce, very funny about the rust.
Lily x