Some treatments for lymphoma can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (photosensitive). This includes radiotherapy and some chemotherapy drugs, including dacarbazine, methotrexate and vinblastine.
Although Sun Awareness Week comes at a time when the warmer weather should be with us soon, remember sun safety is important throughout the year. Stay safe in the sun, even on cloudy days, to protect yourself from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
What are ultraviolet (UV) rays?
UV rays in sunlight consist of UVA and UVB. UVA rays stay at equal levels throughout the year; whereas UVB rays are at their most intense during the summer, around midday and at high altitude. It’s UVB that causes sunburn.
How can I protect myself from the effects of the sun?
The tips below are aimed to help you stay safe in the sun, and are especially important to follow after treatment for lymphoma.
- Take extra care to protect areas treated with radiotherapy.
- Many chemotherapy drugs (such as dacarbazine, vinblastine and methotrexate) make the skin more sensitive to sunburn from UV rays.
- Avoid being in the sun when the rays are at their strongest, generally between 11am and 3pm.
- Use a sunscreen with a 'sun protection factor' (SPF) of 30 or higher and choose one that protects against both UVB and UVA rays. The SPF is the level of protection against UVB, while the stars on the bottle (1 to 5) show the level of protection against UVA.
- Use clothing to help protect yourself from the effects of sun such as a wide-brimmed hat (caps don’t protect your neck or ears), long sleeved shirts and trousers.
- Wear sunglasses that have a guaranteed UV light filter.
Cancer Research UK has more information about sun, UV and cancer.
4 May 2021