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The sun


The sun

I had 16 chemotherapy sessions then a mastectomy followed by 15 radiotherapy sessions that all finished in Dec2019 now the weather is nice and sunny I find I cannot go out in the garden without wearing a hat is something that could be down to the treatment thank you x


Hi Pauline


Thanks for posting.


Breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can make your skin and scalp more sensitive and this can last for several months or longer after treatment has finished. You will be more likely to get sunburnt so wear sunscreen with a high sun protection (SPF) if you’re out in the sun.


Jaybro and mini mad have mentioned helpful tips for going out in the sun after treatment, especially wearing a high factor sunscreen and covering up when in the sun. Our information about Sun care after breast cancer treatment may also be helpful.


People often call our Helpline to talk about their scars following breast cancer surgery. Their scars may feel tight as you mention in your second post. Using any emollient cream or oil to moisturise the scar area can be helpful.  The type you use will not have a direct effect on your scar but massaging moisturiser into the scar will keep it from becoming dry and will help to make it supple.


Talking to someone who has had a similar experience can be helpful and our Someone Like Me service can arrange for one of our volunteers to talk to you by email or telephone. Our volunteers have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support.


Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.


The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).


Currently our opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, and we are closed on Saturdays.


Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.


Best wishes




Breast Cancer Now Nurse


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Hi Pauline


16 months on and my scar still tightens up if I don’t exercise it. Like you, I’ve got a dog-ear each end - they are the result of the surgery being performed with us lying flat. If we were propped up, apparently, it wouldn’t happen. However, the one in the centre is quite handy for v-necks as it gives a semblance of a cleavage.


It’s essential to use SPF50 on your neck and the rectangle that was treated in radiotherapy. I was told it was advisable even if I was wearing clothes as the sun’s rays penetrate fabric. Basically, you are still microwaving for weeks/months after radiotherapy and the sun will make that worse. You could end up with half your neck burnt red. As mini-mad suggested, draping yourself with a tight-weave cotton scarf can help. I spent the whole summer looking a bit like Lawrence of Arabia in the garden as my hair was only just regrowing so my scalp needed protection too.


As for the feeling hotter in the sun and needling a hat, are you on hormone therapy yet? That may be the cause x


Hi mini mad

Thank you did you have reconstruction my op was oct last year stayed flat but I'm sure my scar and the area around feels like its tightening I have got a line that's swollen both surgeon and oncologist have seen it and said it's called a dogs ear it may go down if not and i wanted it to go would be another op xx


Hi Pauline,


when i finished my radiotherapy i was told to be very careful when in the sun.  I wore a hat for most of that summer,  also a scarf around my neck coming down the side i had my radio on.  I continued to moisturise for prob another 2 months.

hope this helps.   Mini mad xx 💖💖