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National Sun Awareness Week, 6-12 May

Published on: 7 May 2024

Raising awareness of the importance of sun safety throughout the year. 

Sun safety

National Sun Awareness Week is led by the British Association of Dermatologists to highlight the dangers of exposure to the sun. This awareness week (6-12 May) marks the start of a summer-long campaign to provide people with information so they can practice sun safety.

Sun safety is important for people affected by lymphoma as some treatments can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (photosensitive) and more at risk of sunburn. This includes radiotherapy, many chemotherapy drugs and some supportive drugs (some antibiotics and diuretics). 

It’s important to take extra care when spending time outside, especially in the summer months.

Although summer is the time you are most at risk, it is important to keep safe in the sun throughout the year. it is important to protect yourself from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays which consist of two types of radiation, UVA and UVB:

  • UVA – this radiation is constant throughout the year and is associated with skin aging.
  • UVB – this radiation is strongest during the summer months and is associated with skin burning (sunburn).

Both types of radiation are always there, wherever you are, even on cloudy days. Although there are some known benefits of sun exposure, such as increasing vitamin levels, these should be balanced against the known risks. 

How can I protect myself from the sun?

There are a few steps you can take to minimise your risk of being damaged by the sun’s radiation. The following tips are aimed to help you stay safe in the sun and are especially important to follow after treatment for lymphoma. 

  • Keep chemotherapy sites covered in the sun.
  • Avoid being in the sun when the rays are at their strongest, between 11am and 3pm.
  • Apply a sunscreen with a ‘sun protection factor’ (SPF) of at least 30. Make sure the sunscreen you use protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. The number of stars on the bottle will tell you how protective it is against UVA rays, and the number on the bottle will tell you how protective it is against UVB rays.
  • Wear sunglasses that have a UV light filter to protect your eyes.
  • Wear a hat to protect your head and shoulders. If you lost some hair from your head due to lymphoma treatment, take extra care to keep your head out of the sun.
  • Use clothing to help protect yourself from the effects of the sun. For example, wearing T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and trousers can protect the skin on your body.
  • If you are thinking of travelling abroad, you can find more information on our website