Cold Weather and Cancer


Cold weather can cause extra challenges to Cancer patients, due to the side effects of Cancer treatments and physical limitations as a result of a Cancer diagnosis.

In this article, we share some tips to help Cancer patients stay safe in cold weather.


  • Dress in warm layers. Wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth before you head out into the cold to avoid any breathing problems.
  • Wear a hat that covers your ears, and put on heavy gloves to protect your fingers.
  • Wear shoes or boots with good grip.
  • Make sure paths and driveways are cleared of snow and ice.
  • Walk like a penguin in the snow. Take flat-footed, short steps or shuffle for stability. Keep your arms at your sides and free, wear a backpack to keep your arms free to protect yourself if you fall.
  • Ask for—and accept—help with shoveling snow or running errands so you can avoid going out in inclement weather.

Conditions that can affect Cancer patients:

Falls may be dangerous:

Some Cancer treatments can cause numbness in the hands and feet, which may make a person unsteady on their feet.  Patients with blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma are at particular risk with a fall, thrombocytopenia is a condition in which there is a lower than normal amount of platelets in the blood. Platelets help blood clot, and having too few of them can lead to bruising or serious bleeding with an injury.


Side effects of treatment such as dehydration, fatigue and anemia can make you more sensitive to the cold and more susceptible to hypothermia. Hypothermia is a condition in which your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, dangerously lowering your temperature.

Sometimes Chemotherapy can make you less sensitive to the cold, therefore not allowing you to feel how cold it really is. Frostbite can result as a result of the freezing of the skin.
If we can support you, contact our Cancer Support Centre on 012866966 or email

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