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Staying Safe in the Sun as a Childhood Cancer Survivor

When you have cancer, you have to be aware of many things. Sun safety may not be at the top of your list. As a thyroid cancer survivor, sun safety has become part of my daily routine. After I had my surgery, my surgeon advised me to wear sunscreen and cover up my scar. 

Patients who have surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation must be careful when in sunlight. 

Surgery and radiation can cause certain parts of your body to be sensitive to the sun. Chemotherapy can make your entire body sensitive to UV rays.

Sometimes medications can cause sun sensitivity too. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), antibiotics, and antihistamines are medicines to be aware of. Survivors on any medication should ask their doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions.

I practice sun safety by:

Applying sunscreen

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Applying sunscreen

I use SPF 30 or higher. Make sure to apply water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen on all areas of exposed skin at least every 2 hours. I’ve also added moisturizer with sunscreen in it to my skincare routine for extra protection.

Limiting my time in the sun by spending more time in the shade and less time outside in general

The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. When you are outside, try to seek shade or take a break inside around those times of the day.

Covering up when I am outside

Make sure the most sensitive parts of your body are covered by wearing hats, sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, and pants. Because my scars are located on my neck, I’ve covered my scars with band-aids for extra protection. 

Making sure to drink water

Being out in the sun can cause dehydration, so drinking water will keep your body hydrated.

Stay hydrated

Being out in the sun can cause dehydration, so drinking water will keep your body hydrated.

I love being outside during the summer. Since beginning treatment, sun safety has played a vital role in my summer day. 


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