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Can I go out in the sun when I'm undergoing chemo for breast cancer?

Take Care of Your Skin and Enjoy Summer Activities


Updated June 27, 2014

Summer Sun Hat

Summer Sun Hat

Udo Weber, Fotolia
Yes, you can join friends and family in outdoor fun, but you will need to be extra careful when you’re exposed to the sun.

Some chemo drugs will make you more photosensitive, so you’re at a higher risk for sunburn. Other non-chemo drugs that you may be on during or after treatment can make you sensitive to sunlight, too. Once you are finished with treatment, this risk returns to normal. But while you’re still undergoing chemo, be sure to take extra good care of your skin.

Tips to Prevent Summer Sunburn During Chemo:

  • Stay out of direct sun from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Use fresh sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)--toss out last year’s supply.
  • Lather extra sunscreen on high, rounded skin: Nose, tops of ears, exposed scalp, shoulders, knees, and tops of feet.
  • Slide some lip balm with sunscreen on your lips. and keep the tube handy for reapplication.
  • Dress for protection: Wear a wide-brimmed hat; loose, long-sleeve top; flowing, long pants.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your skin, and the rest of your body, hydrated.

Which Drugs Cause Extra Photosensitivity?

  • Fluorouracil (5FU)
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
  • Dacarbazine (DTIC)
  • Vinblastine (Velbe)
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  3. Breast Cancer
  4. Life During Treatment
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  6. Photosensitivity During Chemotherapy - Protection Tips

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