Safe sun exposure
Most people love to soak up the sun. But nobody wants a sunburn. And tanning can lead to premature aging of the skin and, sometimes, to skin cancer.
For childhood cancer survivors, "handle with care" is the best approach to sun exposure because you may be at increased risk of developing skin cancer, especially if you were treated with radiation. While skin cancer is a highly treatable and survivable disease, prevention (i.e., limiting sun exposure) and early detection are key.
You can take steps to stay skin cancer-free. Enjoy the sun's rays the smart way by following these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:
- Remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing outdoors, such as a long‐sleeved shirt, pants, a wide‐brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
- Generously apply a broad‐spectrum, water‐resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin. "Broad‐spectrum" provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
- If you want to look tan, consider using a self‐tanning product or spray, but continue to use sunscreen with it.