What about Sun Exposure during Radiation Therapy?

One common question we get is: What about sun exposure during radiation therapy?  Can I still go to the beach?

In general, the treated area should be kept out of direct sunlight during treatment and up to a year after treatment.  So, during radiation treatment, the best solution is to keep out of the sun. If you do have to go outside:

  1. Wear oversized UV-protective clothing to cover the treated area and allow it to breathe;
  2. Don’t apply sunscreen on the area during treatment (as sunscreen can directly affect treatment);
  3. Avoid chlorine on the skin since it can dry up the treated area very quickly, making your skin reaction worse;
  4. After radiation therapy is complete, you can start using sunblock again. Use one that is rated SPF 30 or higher on the treated area, and apply half an hour before going outside; reapply sunblock every few hours as needed.

After your radiation treatment is done, the skin that has been exposed to radiation may be more sensitive to the sun than it was in the past. So when you go out in the sun, remember to protect your skin.