Beating the Heat During Cancer Treatment

A hot, humid Atlanta summer can be especially miserable if you are undergoing or have recently completed cancer treatment. Heat can increase cancer-related fatigue, and some treatments may increase sensitivity to sun exposure. Here are a few suggestions for staying comfortable this season:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eliminate or limit alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating. If you’re going to be outdoors in the heat, it’s important to hydrate before you go out, as well as during activities.
  • Be protective: Avoid sun exposure and outdoor exercise during the peak sun intensity hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Use sunscreen and/or protective clothing anytime you go outdoors, and consider using a sun umbrella with UV protection.
  • Party on: If you’re invited to an outdoor gathering, ask the host if shade or air conditioning will be available nearby so you can easily take breaks if you feel overheated.
  • Dress for comfort: Breathable, loose-fitting styles and natural fabrics are best for staying cool. If you have hair loss due to chemotherapy, consider a cotton scarf or turban rather than a wig for summer.
  • Listen to your body: Be prepared to be more easily fatigued as the temperature rises, and respect your body’s signals that it needs rest.
  • Listen to your doctor: If you are currently in treatment (or recovering from it), check with your doctor to find out if there are any restrictions on the types of summer activities you enjoy.