When you undergo cancer treatment, there are various aspects of your daily routine that need to be considered including skincare. The potential of cancer treatment whether chemotherapy, radiation therapy or any other treatments can make your skin sensitive and damage especially from sun. Cancer treatments can leave your skin feeling fragile and suffer from irritation.

Protecting your skin from external factors, especially the sun, is vital to maintaining skin health and physical health. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage that might exacerbate the side effects of treatment, including dryness, redness, and increased risk of infections. The use of broad-spectrum UVA-UVB, high protection sunscreen as part of your everyday routine is essential to protect your skin from the sun rays. The consistent use of sunscreen significantly reduces your chance of developing skin cancer.

Let’s explore the benefits of incorporating sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing into your daily routine, that helps in minimizing risk and ensuring your skin stays healthy.

Skin care essentials to reduce the risk of skin cancer:

Wearing Protective Hats:A practical way to protect your skin from the sun’s damage is by wearing a hat. Choose for a broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck, and ears. Hats should have at least a 3-inch brim to safeguard these sensitive areas from UV rays. Therefore, select hats which are made of tightly woven materials to enhance protection.

UV- Protective Clothing: Wearing appropriate clothing can provide a physical barrier against harmful UV rays. Choose tightly woven fabrics with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating for better protection. Explore sun-protection clothing options like maxi dresses, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts made from breathable, lightweight materials to remain comfortable even in warm weather.

Daily sunscreen use: There is some debate and myths around the safety of sunscreen, especially concerning its use by cancer patients. Contrary to these claims, extensive research indicates no negative health effects of regular sunscreen use.

Sunscreen absorbs or reflects UV rays, preventing them from penetrating deeper layers of the skin. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays. Therefore, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, however higher SPF values offer greater protection. There is no sunscreen which can completely block UV rays.

Overexposure to UV radiation accounts for 86% of melanoma cases. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that consistent sunscreen use reduces the risk of melanoma by 50-73%. Regular skin checks and diligent sunscreen application are key strategies to minimize skin cancer risk.

Skin Cancer Types : The use of Sunscreen

Actinic Keratosis: Although not directly a form of skin cancer, actinic keratosis consists of very common rough, scaly patches on the skin, appearing due to prolonged sun exposure. These spots signify that the skin’s natural defences against UV radiation have been compromised, and some may progress to skin cancer. Constant usage of sunscreen can help prevent actinic keratosis.

Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer grows slowly, making early detection and treatment possible. Basal cell carcinomas commonly form on the face, and late detection may result in unsightly scarring. Notice any new lumps, pimples, or ulcers? Consult a dermatologist immediately. Daily use of broad-spectrum UVA-UVB sunscreen, especially on exposed areas like the face, can prevent this type of skin cancer.

Melanoma: It is a severe type of skin cancer with life-threatening potential. Exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning increases the risk of melanoma. It appears as brown or black spots on healthy skin or within a pre-existing mole; early-stage melanoma is treatable with a high recovery rate. Immediate consultation with dermatologists is important when noticing any suspicious changes.

Tips for skin care during cancer treatment:

Treatments for cancer, particularly radiation therapy and some forms of chemotherapy, can have an extreme effect on skin health and cause minor to serious adverse reactions.

  • It is advisable to avoid antiperspirants, talcum powder and use of products with alcohol or fragrances and choose mild soaps.
  • It is important to keep the area dry and clean to prevent infection, if the treatment causes flaking, pain or moisture.
  • It is best to avoid shaving in the treated area if the skin is sensitive and sore. Consider using an electric shaver or shave less often in the future.
  • Use lukewarm water instead of hot water for quick baths and showers.
  • Keep your skin moisturized and apply the recommended lotions or creams to prevent itchiness or dryness.

Early Detection and Consultation:

Early diagnosis of skin cancer increases the chance of successful treatment. If you observe any unusual symptoms, consult a healthcare professional promptly. Thangam Cancer Centre, anadvanced cancer treatment center in Coimbatore, recommends utilizing sunscreen to prevent both immediate and long-term or effect of sun damage on the skin. Following the expert recommendations is essential for maintaining healthy skin.

By adopting these skin care essentials, you can significantly lower your skin cancer risk and ensure long-term skin health.