advertisement
03 August 2011

Cancer patients at risk for sun damage

Cancer patients are at greater risk for sun damage and need to be extra vigilant about sun safety, researchers say.

0

Cancer patients are at greater risk for sun damage and need to be extra vigilant about sun safety, researchers say.

"Cancer patients may be more at risk for sun damage because of their treatment," said Dr Elizabeth Kvale, director of outpatient supportive care and survivorship in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a university news release.

"Skin that has been treated with radiation therapy may lose some of its natural protective capacity because of the changes that occur with treatment," she said. "Radiation-exposed skin should be completely protected from sun exposure."

In order to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays, the UAB experts recommend that cancer patients follow some basic sun-protection guidelines, including:

  • Apply sunscreen
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Cover surgical scars (they may darken if exposed to the sun)
  • Wear a hat (this is especially important for patients who have lost their hair).

Children at greatest risk

Skin cancer
patients should pay particular attention to the areas of skin being treated, advised the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Dark, tightly woven fabrics are best for guarding against sun exposure, the group noted.

The UAB experts added that children who have been diagnosed with cancer are among those at greatest risk. "Paediatric cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers should be especially attentive to sun safety," said Kvale, who is also an associate scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Kvale explained that children who experience sunburn have a significantly elevated risk of developing serious skin cancer in the long-term.

The sun's harmful UV rays are not the only reason cancer patients have to exercise caution during the summer. Cancer patients are also more susceptible to heat exhaustion or dehydration since vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea are side-effects of cancer treatment. As a result, UAB experts warn that cancer patients should also take the following steps:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
  • Chew on ice chips
  • Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine
  • Eat fruits and vegetables with high fluid content.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more tips on sun safety.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

How loud is too loud? »

Heal your hearing Pain relievers linked to hearing loss in women FDA approves balloon device to clear Eustachian tube

SEE: Interesting facts about hearing loss

Our ears perform quite a complex job – not only are they responsible for helping us hear, they also assist with balance.