Gift Ideas For Cancer Patients

Gift Ideas For Cancer Patients

Gift ideas for cancer patients

Has someone in your life been diagnosed with cancer?

Not sure what to get or how to express that you care?

When considering a gift, it’s important to remember that every patient’s cancer journey is unique and often varies by special circumstances.

No matter the time of year, whether it's Valentine's Day, the holiday season or someone's birthday, it can be challenging to find gifts for cancer patients.

When considering a gift for a loved one undergoing cancer treatment it’s important to remember that every patient’s cancer journey is unique and often shaped by a variety of special circumstances, including:

Even if your friend or family member has completed treatment, you’ll want to avoid certain gifts. Think twice about giving a gift certificate for a massage, for example. A therapist with little or no training in working with cancer patients may inadvertently worsen the swelling and pain associated with lymphedema. How about a mani-pedi? If a salon’s tools are not sanitized properly, your loved one may get an infection, putting him or her at more of a risk for potential complications.

The right gift for the right patient

Is your loved one a “cancer warrior”?

These patients, who are open and vigorous about their cancer battle, often appreciate gifts that offer inspiration. Consider t-shirts or bracelets for the whole family in the color that symbolizes your loved one’s cancer type. Or give a pillow or wall decoration that displays words of encouragement, such as “Hope,” “Loved” or a spiritual quotation. “Inspirational gifts show your support in tangible ways and remind patients to look forward on days when they’re feeling low,”. Tote bags with inspirational sayings make wonderful  cancer gift baskets.

Stronger Than Cancer Wristband

Does your loved one crave comfort?

A soft, warm blanket, port pillow or plush teddy bear are a few gift ideas to help bring comfort and reduce stress during treatment sessions. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate something soft to hold onto or snuggle into, since hospitals are often chilly.

Has your loved one been recently diagnosed?

A friendly phone call, video chat or in-person visit may be just what your loved one needs. Most cancer patients appreciate having someone to listen to their questions and concerns as they sort out and come to terms with their diagnosis and treatments. Your sympathetic ear, without giving advice or passing judgement, may be the best gift during this difficult time. There are books and articles written to help the family and friends of loved ones navigate their way though helping those diagnosed with cancer.

Gifts ideas for cancer patients

Still not sure of the best gift to express your love and support? Here’s a list of  gift ideas for cancer patients:


An enticing new novel, biography or nonfiction reading material may make the time pass faster as your loved one waits for medical appointments or undergoes chemotherapy infusions. Take a look at popular books lists, to find books that may catch your loved ones attention. Even if your loved one listens to audiobooks, perhaps a gift card for the preferred way to listen to books.

Sometimes, people with cancer may not want to read, watch, or hear anything about cancer. If you don't know what kinds of books or movies your friend is or is not interested in, consider sharing some favorites. You may help your friend find a new author or genre.

On that note, it will be helpful to let your friend know that reading the book or watching the movie is optional. Your friend may not want to feel obligated to add to an already long to-do list.

Cards or notes

Small gestures like sending a card or letter may go a long way toward comforting your loved one. Knowing you're thinking of him or her and sending positive energy may be especially comforting on difficult days. One option is to create an inspirational word jar. Simply write uplifting messages and place them in a jar or box you've decorated for the holidays.

Flowers are not typically suggested as some patients may be very sensitive to smells, and flowers may do more harm than good. There are lots of alternatives to fresh flowers though for your loved ones.

Greeting Cards

Electronic gadgets

Portable, handheld gaming devices are a great way to pass the time for a gamer who’s sidelined by surgery or treatment. The same goes for a subscription to TV streaming services that allow your loved one to binge-watch current and past seasons of favorite TV shows or catch up on movies. You may also want to throw in a pair of wireless headphones or ear buds. Other electronic gift ideas include:

  • Personal voice assistant, so your loved one can search for information—like which restaurants deliver or what time the pharmacy closes—without leaving the couch.
  • A portable charging station with multiple ports to charge devices simultaneously.
  • A 6-foot or 10-foot charging cord for a longer reach when a power outlet isn’t located near the bed or sofa.

Fashionable gifts

Women who have undergone a full or partial mastectomy or lost some of their hair during chemotherapy may feel self-conscious about their appearance. Consider buying your friend a hat, scarf, or warm beanie, depending on her personal style.

Pashmina Scarf

Beanie Rose

Soft clothes or blankets

Some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, cause the skin to become hypersensitive. Consider giving your friend some soft, cozy socks, slippers, pajamas, or robes. Sheepskin and chenille items are ideal. A warm, soft shawl or fleece blanket is the perfect way to wrap your friend in love and comfort. This can serve as a reminder of your friendship during the long and often lonely days of cancer treatment. Add a note that describes the meaning behind your gift. For example: "Here's a little warmth for the times I can't be with you."

Treatment can involve sitting in hard plastic chairs and lying on uncomfortable exam tables. It may take place in cold clinics and hospital rooms that may not feel very homey. The comfort gifts can help let them know you are with them even when you aren’t and give them some needed comfort.

Wrapped In Love Fleece Wrap

Super Soft Fleece Blanket

Luxury Microfleece Blanket

Games and puzzles

Cancer patients may face physical limitations during treatment but still enjoy engaging their brains. Thousands of game-playing apps are available on Google Play or the Apple Store. If your loved one prefers printed activities, consider adult coloring books, sudoku, 10-minute crosswords, word finds or crossword books.

Game Gifts

Puzzle Options

Gift cards

Gift cards are helpful in many situations. Some of the most frequently requested gift cards are for restaurants, food delivery, groceries, gas stations and car services. Popular Also, consider gift cards for more indulgent items designed to lift your friend’s spirits—maybe it’s for his or her favorite retail store or to pursue a new interest like guided meditation, gentle yoga or bird watching.

Even a surprise envelope with cash in it an be a nice surprise gift. Make sure you give them a smile and write on the envelope “NOT FOR BILLS ?”

Grooming gifts

Some patients may not have the energy or ability to take a shower, especially after surgery. Make personal grooming easier by filling a gift basket with dry shampoo and travel sizes of her preferred hair spray, foundation, mascara and blush or his favorite aftershave or lotion. Since cancer treatments may affect patients’ sense of smell, stick with fragrance-free options.

Before buying a gift such as a mani/pedi check with your loved one to ensure this is something they may be up to doing – some treatments can affect the person due to treatment making them more sensitive to smells.

Radiation Care Gift Basket 

Homemade meals

Little warms the heart like a home-cooked meal. Before diving into your loved one’s favorite recipes, be sure to ask about nutritional needs and diet restrictions. Some ingredients may interfere with cancer medications. For patients needing longer-term support, consider enlisting friends, family and neighbors to volunteer for a meal delivery rotation, or encourage them to donate toward the family’s grocery bill or takeout budget.

Meal delivery service

The options are more plentiful than ever, and many services pride themselves on delivering fresh, nutritious prepared meals that can be simply heated and eaten. Or, if the patient and family are up to it, meal kits with premeasured ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes may be fun for the family to do together.

Soup Basket Full of Comfort

Elegant Gourmet Soup Gift Box

Soup's On Care Package

Insulated water bottle

Doctors advise cancer patients to stay hydrated, so make it easier for your loved one to drink plenty of water with a insulated bottle that keeps liquids cool.

Insulated Water Bottle

Plush pillow and/or neck cushion

It’s likely your loved one is taking more naps since he or she began treatment. A neck pillow for dozing while sitting up may help prevent a stiff neck caused by falling asleep with his or her head unsupported.

Cherry Stone Neck Pillow

Tote bag or gift basket

Not sure of your loved one’s size or taste? Put together a pretty tote bag or gift basket of thoughtful items especially for cancer patients. Options may include ginger chews (to help with nausea), coloring books and colored pencils, handheld games or game books, lip balm, unscented hand lotion, magazines, healthy snacks (nuts, popcorn or granola). A travel toothbrush, toothpaste and alcohol-free mouthwash may also make for nice additions.

Cancer Tote Bag Gifts for Women

Cancer Tote Bag Gifts for Men

Cancer Gifts for Children

Cleaning and lawn services

Juggling cancer treatment along with the everyday responsibilities of work, family and pets is often exhausting. Those who pride themselves on a clean home or neat yard may become anxious or depressed if they don’t have the energy to keep up with everything. Buying a few months’ worth of a cleaning or lawn service may reduce this worry and bring your loved one a much-needed sense of order.

Your time

Most cancer treatments leave patients fatigued at one point or another. Since many are embarrassed to ask for help, consider offering specific services. Tell your loved one you’re coming over to do laundry, go grocery shopping or walk the dog, and ask which other errands you can do. If appropriate, ask whether you can help shuttle children to and from school and activities.

If you're still trying to find the perfect gift, step into your loved one's shoes to better understand what it's like to have cancer.

Finally, remember that support for people with cancer goes far behind gifts. Just being there to listen and show you care can mean a lot.

The Same Gift You’d Get Them Otherwise

Sometimes those who are going through treatment just wish to be treated the same way they were before cancer. The best gift may be one that’s not related to their treatment or the fact that they are facing cancer.

May 10, 2023 Just Dont Send Flowers

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