Swimming during summer: I was just wondering if... - CLL Support

CLL Support

17,697 members28,894 posts

Swimming during summer

ANA4 profile image

I was just wondering if it is safe to go swimming, my skin has become very sensitive/swollen to the sun after diagnosed with CLL.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

19 Replies

It's not what everyone else wears, but perhaps you can wear a shirt with long sleeves . If you look up "sun protective swimwear" your internet browser will come up with options. Then you don't have to worry about sunscreen washing off in water

ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to 81ue


lankisterguy profile image

Hi ANA4,-

IMO - nothing we do is completely "safe"


Driving or riding in a car is less safe than flying.

Exposure to DiHydrogen Monoxide is very dangerous (LOL)see:



Staying home indoors is physically safer, but mentally ???


So we each must choose which activities bring us more enjoyment

vs. slight increased risk and inconveniences.


I share with your concern and fully appreciate your sun sensitivity issue, as I have always had a problem with sun exposure, even before CLL.



ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to lankisterguy

Thank you, appreciate the encouragement

cllady01 profile image
cllady01Volunteer in reply to ANA4

The reflection of the sun off the water IS more intense exposure. Is it possible for your swimming times to be early morning or late afternoon to avoid the extreme heat.

I do hope you find a safe way to get in your swim.

Like it, Len!

I live in Florida. In the sun all the time. My skin is not anymore sensitive due to CLL. I use sunscreen and see my dermatologist twice a year. However yours is- definitely can swim with the great shirts they sell that protect you. Use sunscreen everywhere else. Enjoy

ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to GMa27

Thanks for your response

Early or late in the day it should be no problem. Rule of thumb: when your shadow is longer than your hight, you're safe if you don't expose yourself for more than 30 minutes. The longer the shadow, the longer the safe time. Don't use sunscreen. It does not equal covering up. It prevents sunburn, but not skin damage which is causing cancer. Sunscreen prevents the reaction to excess sun exposure but not the damage caused by it. Unless it is zinc based and physically light-impenetrable. Those make you look like a mummy from a horror movie but are efficient. I have a strong hunch which I can not prove, that the epidemy of skin cancers is thanks to exactly sunscreen abuse. Before sunscreens people got burnt and were cautious next time. Now they put on sunscreen and spend hours and hours outside, lying in the sun, tanning through high noon. Then there are those who religiously avoid sun exposure and develop vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis. Very common in the Philippines, where whiter is considered more beautiful. While among white Europeans tanner is more beautiful 😁 I guess the neighbor's grass is always greener, his wife more desirable and everyone craves for what he does not have 😂😂 Crazy.

mteaney profile image
mteaney in reply to LeoPa

If I understand you correctly, you seem to saying that sunscreen doesn't provide protection from skin cancer. Please cite your source / basis for this.

LeoPa profile image
LeoPa in reply to mteaney

This is not something I read online, but somewhere in the dozens of books I read about my favourite topic of nutrition, training and all matters health related. I have many more controversial statements in reserve that go against conventional wisdom. This is just one such. It's all about who you consider a trustworthy source. After ten years of cross referencing a multitude of sources I developed a set of common sense based convictions. Do you have a better explanation as to why skin cancer incidents (all cancer incidents) are on the rise? I don't believe in coincidence. Don't believe me. But what if I'm right?

LeoPa profile image
LeoPa in reply to mteaney

A quick check and I found this: health.harvard.edu/staying-...

Quote of interest :

Q. Is there evidence that sunscreen actually causes skin cancer?

A. No. These conclusions come incorrectly from studies where individuals who used sunscreen had a higher risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. This false association was made because the individuals who used sunscreen were the same ones who were traveling to sunnier climates and sunbathing. In other words, it was the high amounts of sun exposure, not the sunscreen, that elevated their risk of skin cancer.

This is what meant. Putting on sunscreen does not mean that we can get a lot of sun exposure without consequences. High amounts of sun exposure mean higher cancer risk.

ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to LeoPa

Oh thank you for clarifying😂🌹

Also read that we are more prone to skin cancers.....truly who knows, but I do need regular dermatology exams & Basel cell & squamous removed!

OK. Evidently, I misconstrued your initial post. One thing that I do know is that those of us who have CLL are at higher risk for skin cancer and, consequently, most dermatologists recommend that those of us with CLL use sunscreen. Although I am not very consistent with applying sunscreen when I'm out in the sun, it is not because I believe it is ineffective and certainly not because I suspect that the sunscreen causes skin cancer. It is just something that I cannot seem to get in the habit of using.

it's all about balance. Go and enjoy your live but yes I think a great hat, umbrella time and a sun shirt are great additions to your cautious approach. I am a HUGE fan of Trader Joes Zinc Oxide sunscreen, especially the cream one. it doesn't leave you all white and is made of the large molecules that my derm said is great.

ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to Gardengirl44

Thank you . Really I’m trying to learn how to enjoy my life since diagnosed with this horrible disease , it’s not easy to stay careful 24/7 but we have to try

Hi ANA4:

You bring up sun exposure when on the beach swimming which is one issue. The other potentially more risky issue is catching an infection in the water. I’m personally more concerned with infection risk than sun risk when swimming. I have a house on a lake that I spend time at in the summer. The water is very clean and I used to enjoy snorkeling looking at fish, etc. but for that past couple of years I have refrained from swimming because of the potential infection risk. I’m actually sitting on the porch looking at the water now 😁. Just something else for you to consider when swimming.



ANA4 profile image
ANA4 in reply to HopeME


You may also like...