As the weather finally starts to heat up, I thought it would be a good time to remind us all of the importance of protecting our skin, especially if we are having chemotherapy/radiotherapy or have ongoing issues with hvgd. Any hints or tips for forum members will I’m sure be greatly appreciated, especially for the newly diagnosed amongst us. Also those experiencing the loss of their hair might benefit from information on head wear for good sun protection.
Hi Alfie, a subject after my own heart (and head). I am fair haired and skinned and in my
misspent youth, before anybody realised, I went out in the sunshine to burn and get a suntan. The first lotion I had to enhance my chances of a desired suntan was oil based so I would essentially fry. I used to get violently sick, terrible headaches, be confined in a darkened room for days, blister, freckle and peel a layer of skin and therefore actually make myself more vulnerable to the rays. Growing up we went to Cornwall to friends for our summer holidays so we went to the beach and I never seem to be given a hat, there would be photos and there I would be covered from head to toe in a beach towel. Roll on over half a century and since diagnosis, although I have not had any treatment, my fine hair is much thinner. A CNS said to me it is because in our temperate climate makes my body thinks I have got enough to do fighting the CLL without thinking about a healthy mop of hair as well. Anyway I have had secondary skin cancer on my face and head. Some patches have been cut out or frozen but I had to have an op on my head, probably slightly bigger than a 50p piece and a skin graft from my leg. Obviously with CLL the 2 surgeons were concerned about infections but all was OK. Well if you want sympathy have a visual wound like that and not an unseen blood cancer. I wasn’t supposed to shower or wash my hair for 3 months. I now have a birdbath crater on my head which I say is the watering hole for passing migrating birds. So I now wear an inappropriate pink bonnet or a blue hat that I can stuff in my bag. So my advice would be to have a foldable hat, with a brim that can be folded and kept in your bag, wearing a high factor sun cream and good sunglasses. I find if I go out in the morning in this country the weather can radically change during the day and I can get caught out. I have one cancer and I and my body do not want to have to fight another one.as well.
This is a timely reminder to all of us why we should take exposure to the sun seriously, I think your point about not getting caught out by a sudden change in the weather is very important and carrying something than can be used at a moments notice is a great piece of advice given the unpredictable British weather.
Fantastic topic @Alfie I was thinking of this only today, about those having treatment or living with blood cancer during the warmer months. If anyone has tips or advice to share, they’d be very welcomed!
Bloodwise recently posted this blog from a CNS about keeping safe in the sun https://bloodwise.org.uk/blog/keeping-safe-sun - does anyone have something to add to this?
I have just read the info on the Bloodwise site and think it has excellent advice. I use a cream for sensitive skin, children’s factor 50+, and always drink plenty of water
I find the more I sweat the more I itch, so I try to wear more loose fitting clothes ie palazzo pants not jeans and cotton blouses with roll up 3/4 sleeves so if you don’t like sun cream you can cover completely if needed. Humidity makes things worse as you are permanently sticky which can also aggravate the skin. I have a lot of moles or beauty spots so have always been a bit paranoid.
Best wishes alfie
Good topic Alfie. I had no idea that chemotherapy could make your skin more sensitive to the sun until Hugo was diagnosed. Even 7 months post end of treatment he still catches the sun very easily. He also sweats easily and regularly asks for his back to be ‘itched’. I don’t have much in the way of advice other than plenty of sun cream. We cut Hugo’s hair short. He has really thick hair now after losing it all and it was making him even hotter. He regularly strips down to his underwear around the house - but that might not be for everyone!
I still have sensitive skin 10 years post treatment. I don’t think stripping down to my underwear would be a good look, especially if I need to answer the door