As someone who is dealing with Melanoma, my answer is yes. Your body has been weakened by the treatments and could be more at risk than you realize. Melanoma is a sneaky one. Its really not worth the chance just to be "tan."
Lung Cancer Questions
Asked by barbeo on Saturday, April 13, 2013
sun exposure. I am 4 months into remission with lung cancer. Last chemo 12/ 12 . My question is what about exposure to sun. Love the outdoors. Do I still need to use high SP sunscreen?
7 Answers from the Community
Hi. I'm Aliza, a BC patient and the site's unofficial Medical Librarian. I answer questions (usually non medical ones). Librarians tend to shy away from offering medical advice (our professional code of ethics and it's technically illegal; it's practicing medicine sans license) so, what I can do is offer referrals to doctors, hospitals/institutions, agencies, etc. Give pertinent facts. I can also research when required or requested And I'm able to speak from my own experience and those of my family and close friends.
Clyde is absolutely 100% correct in the advice he gave you, particularly if your physician advised you to wear a high SPF sunscreen previously. My late mother had melanoma that was caught very early and a small surgery was all that was necessary. My late father had basal cell carcinoma. Neither of my folks died from these conditions. But I can tell you that my family spent lots of time in the sun and most of us are very fair-my grandfather had a cabana in the summer on the beach in Long Island (NY) and we loved going there (our family was big then. My aunt had benign skin cancers removed from her neck as well.
I'm a Lupus patient, for about 20 years now. I do not go out without sunscreen over my moisturizer and under my makeup. Neutrogena makes a wide variety of sunscreens with high SPFs that should suit anyone's desires from those with sensitive skin to those who want a more dry feeling to moisturizers with a high SPF (essentially a high SPF sunscreen [a horse of a different color is still a horse]). Surely this extra step is worth adding an extra step to your beauty regimen so that you don't have to worry about something bad happening. They make sunscreens that are more suited to your face and then those that are better suited to your body.
I had to make changes in my life as well when I was diagnosed with Lupus, because I didn't want to have a Lupus flare and feel stiff, achy and be feverish.. It's nice that you like the outdoors. It's probably better to enjoy it in the latter part of the afternoon - say about 4pm when the sun isn't so high in the sky as it is at noon. Buy the most lovely sunhat you can-something chic and sunglasses as well that have lenses that protect against UV rays. Slather your face and body with lotion before putting on your clothes - if you don't want to feel "icky" in hot weather, Neutrogena makes a dry touch sunscreen. Do not go to the beach in the middle of the day and if you do, to be with friends if you cannot make yourself meet them later, stay under a beach umbrella and wear a tee shirt and light linen or silk pants over your bathing suit.
Spray on tans are all the rage now. For God's sake, do not go to a tanning salon! Go instead to see if Neutrogena (no I don't work for them...;)) or any good cosmetics company makes a spray tan (if you want one) that won't turn you orange.
If you want to garden, wear your sunhat and sunscreen and do so in the early morning or early evening to plant flowers and bulbs or vegetables.
I know I'm giving you a lot of information. My parents got these skins cancers because they didn't have the information about the sun that we do today. Even I worry about this because I went to my grandfather's cabana for 11 years as a child. When I was a teenager (I'm 54 now) I went to the beach with my girlfriends to swim, hang out, listen to the radio, drink Tab (Yuk!) and try to get a tan. We used baby oil and homemade reflectors made with aluminum foil. When I was 15, I fell asleep at the beach-nice cool breezes and didn't realize I stayed on one side for a long time. When I came home, my right leg was red. After I showered it started turning kind of purple and I was nauseous and had fever. I had sun poisoning. I begged her not to let my Dad know what happened (because he'd have blown a gasket about how I did this to myself). We just told him I had a virus and I took aspirin and a lot of cold showers, and cold compresses. It was awful.
Every year, because of these experiences, I go see my dermatologist without fail for a full body scan and show him every beauty mark that I think looks darker , differently shaped, etc.
Surely, after reading why Clyde told you re Melanoma and what I have to see about that and basal cell carcinoma (my dad had to have several series of Moh's surgery by the way-painful and time consuming and unpleasant afterwards), you should not mind taking the time to put on sunscreen. You're worth it!!
Wishing you well.
congrats on remission - that's awesome!
i think you're asking this because we don't make pigment while on chemo? my oncologists told me that i should take extra care with sun exposure while on chemo because i would not make any new melatonin until after chemo was done. as for when we start making it again? i'm guessing it's probably similar to when we start actually growing REAL HAIR... so, on the order of several months.
i race and ride bikes a ton, and so i'm one of those people who spends loads of time outdoors as well. i love being outside and being outside a ton. i tend to train in the early morning - before the power hours, so to speak... done by 10a. the after 4p is also a good time, when the sun has dropped to an angle such that a large fraction of the UV light is filtered by the atmosphere... i also wear these things called "arm coolers" on my arms - very thin but stretchy material that is white... essentially like cloth-sunscreen... and i can soak them in cold water... which means they contribute to cooling. sunscreen is great... but it's also not great because it can greatly interfere with sweat and make a person a bit more vulnerable to overheating. so, keeping skin covered is a great thing... i do put sunscreen on my face... and i always wear UV-protecting eye wear. so, get the heck outside, but take sensible precautions to prevent damaging your skin. that might be a big sassy hat or helmet or sunscreen or what-have-you... whatever it is, do it!
last bit of advice... spf 30-45 and higher is all essentially the same....
oh - okay - one last bit of advice... pick a good quality sunscreen - one that doesn't contain ingredients with questionable safety. you can check out the skindeep database for safer sunscreens....
Absolutly yes..There is new evidence linking LC with Sun exposure. But if you love the outdoors..(Me too) make sure you know about Lyme disease in your area and take the extra steps to protect yourself as well. Always cover up. And now we hace west nile..So a good bug repellant is also a must. Try and stay in at dusk..the worst bug time.
I like the Neutrogena line of sun block and it is my dermatologists reccomendation the one with helioplex. Aslo look on line for sun clothing protection and even clothing that already carries the bug spray right in the fabric.
I take melatonin every night as ther eis some evidence that it can reduce LC reccurance..its in clinical trials now.
Should you decide that you wish to continue using sunscreen, keep in mind that some of them contain ingredients that are carcinogenic. I am attaching a link so you can check out your brand. Just click on the sun tab, or you can just type your brand into the search box and then click on the picture of your brand. All the ratings will be on the right. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.