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If you’ve ever ridden RAGBRAI or detasseled corn, you’ve experienced the full force of the Iowa summer sun. Now imagine doing so while undergoing cancer treatment. 90 degrees feels like a furnace, and it’s hard to find relief. Summer heat can trigger hot flashes, interact with medications and lead to dehydration and other health problems.
Cancer treatments can significantly raise your risk of sun damage. Certain types of chemotherapy increase your sensitivity; some antibiotics and diuretics make you more prone to sun rash or sunburn. Hair loss caused by chemo exposes your scalp to harmful rays.
Radiation therapy makes the affected areas of your body more vulnerable to the sun, especially during the first year after treatment. Scars from surgery are also especially sun-sensitive, so keep them covered even if you’re wearing sunscreen.
Follow these tips to stay safe in the sun:
If you’re a cancer survivor, you also need to be vigilant. Past treatments or medication side effects may increase your risk of dehydration and sunburn.
Of course, Iowa summers are followed by Iowa winters, so you’ll want to enjoy sunny days while they’re here. So make yourself a refreshing smoothie, follow the tips above and bask in the blue skies of a bright summer.