If your loved one is learning how to live with a new cancer diagnosis, or is currently undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment, you may want to do something kind for them to make them feel comforted. Battling cancer is a rough road that can put the body through so much, and many cancer patients find themselves feeling alone, on top of the already-painful and exhausting treatments they have to deal with. A nice gift or care package can really mean a lot, to let someone know that you’re thinking of them, and that you care about their comfort in uncertain times.
If you’d like to do something nice for someone who is battling cancer, there’s no limit when it comes to nice gift ideas that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your loved one’s face when they need it the most. Whether it’s just a small or free gift or something more expensive, offering gifts that bring comfort, joy and support to someone who is ill can mean more than any cost.
Just remember when choosing a gift, you may need to understand their circumstances before you purchase, for example, not everyone who has cancer has chemo and not everyone who has chemo loses their hair. So not every gift is appropriate for everyone with cancer. This is discussed more here.
So here are 67 of our favorite gift ideas (in no particular order) for your loved one or friend with cancer, from things you can do to help (at no cost) to tiny trinkets or larger care packages:
1. A soft, warm blanket
When undergoing chemotherapy, having a fever is not uncommon, and your loved one could definitely benefit from having a soft, comforting blanket or throw to use when they catch a chill. Choose something very soft, and made of a durable and easily washable material. You can find amazing plush blankets at pretty much any retail store without having to spend a fortune.
2. Comfortable socks
When the person you know gets cold from their therapies, a pair of warm, fuzzy and soft socks can really be a comfort. They are great for wearing around the house or in the hospital in lieu of slippers. Several companies make cozy thermal socks with textured bottoms so your loved one won’t slip on the floor.
3. Water bottles and glasses
Cancer therapies can make people very thirsty, and hydration is a very important part of recovering from any illness. Help your loved one fight dehydration by getting them a custom water bottle or glass with a lid and straw to take along with them when they go to the hospital or the health clinic. You could even customize it with their name, logo or even a picture of your choice. Customizable, stylish glasses and water bottles come in all materials from metals to plastic and everything in between and are generally pretty inexpensive.
When stuck at the hospital for hours, your friend may want to write letters or catch up with friends and family. A set of nice stationery could be useful and brighten their mood.
5. Beanies, Hats and Scarves
Some chemotherapy patients will lose their hair and some become self-conscious about it. Gifting them with a fun hat, a stylish and silky scarf or other hair covering that matches their unique style will help cover up their hair and make them feel more comfortable.
If your friend is spending a lot of time in bed reading or scrolling through their laptop or phone, they could develop eyestrain. A pair of blue-light glasses or new reading glasses is a thoughtful gift that will be put to good use.
7. Pins, stickers, and memorabilia
Many who are battling or have battled cancer like to show pride in their fight or bring awareness to their disease. A nice breast cancer pin, sticker or other memorabilia could be a good way to show support, boost morale and raise awareness.
8. A good book
There’s nothing like the gift of a good book – help your loved one escape into another world for a little while with a thought-provoking or engaging read that’s guaranteed to bring them joy.
9. Lip balm and other moisturizers
Cancer therapies can make a patient feel very dehydrated and dried out, and that includes the lips and the face. Gifting a nice set of soothing lip balms and moisturizers can get them feeling so much better.
10. Tote bag
For those who must travel to-and-fro from home to treatment, a nice custom tote bag emblazoned with their name or even just in their favorite color makes a functional and cheerful gift.
11. Headrests and pillows
Sitting in hard chairs all day or having to have alot of bed rest will only cause a patient more discomfort. Investing in a small travel pillow headrest will ensure their comfort when they’re in treatment or on the go. You can find heated and cooling ones, ones that are scented with essential oils, and more.
Little indulgences can mean a lot. A locally-crafted, lightly scented body wash or all-natural soap can help your friend feel pampered and comforted.
Slippers are a timeless gift – comfort, warmth and functionality all in one simple little present.
14. Foot rollers and mini-massagers
For those pesky aches and pains, a foot roller or mini-massage gadget can help them feel better, fast.
15. Hand sanitizers
Keeping germ-free is very important for someone who is immune-compromised due to chemotherapy. A chemo patient can never have too much hand sanitizer.
Pocket tissues that are easy to carry in one’s pocket are a great, inexpensive and practical gift.
17. Earbuds or headphones
For the patient who is calmed by music or their favorite podcast, give them a nice new pair of earbuds or headphones so they can tune out the world.
Chemotherapy often causes nausea as well as dry mouth. A nice tin of fancy peppermints or other flavored mints will be as helpful as they are delicious.
19. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas that are delicious and also help combat nausea include mint teas, ginger tea, and lavender teas.
20. Hand Warmers
A heated gel pack to warm the hands is a thoughtful and inexpensive gift idea and can help with cold extremities caused by cancer treatments.
21. Phone charger
These always come in handy, so your friend can have a charger at-home and for-travel, making it easier to keep their devices charged.
22. Hand creams and lotions
Dry skin is a problem with chemotherapy. Help them keep their hands soft and comfortable with a mild or unscented lotion or hand cream.
23. Coloring books, word searches and puzzles
Boredom can set in when sitting around a treatment center. Engaging activities like coloring books, mad libs, crossword puzzles and other fun books will keep them entertained and relieve anxiety.
Splurge on a stack of your loved one’s favorite magazines so they can peruse fashion spreads, read new recipes or catch up on their favorite celebrity gossip.
25. Book lights
These are helpful for reading in the dark, very useful for hospital stays.
26. Anti-nausea bands
These can help offset the nausea caused by cancer therapies.
27. Lap tray or TV tray
For the patient who spends a lot of time in bed, a tray to help them eat, write or prop up devices will be very useful.
Everyone loves homemade baked goods. Why not whip up a batch of homemade chocolate cookies, try a new pudding or custard recipe, or bake a loaf of bread? Your loved one will appreciate you for taking the time to bake them something comforting and delicious. Do please check whether their dietary requirements have changed though before you do this.
Chemotherapy can cause dryness in the mouth and that can lead to a yucky taste in the mouth, too. But when traveling for treatment, the patient can’t always get to a toothbrush or mouthwash. Buy them some gum in various flavors to keep on them at all times, helping combat that dry, yucky taste.
Often with so many appointments and treatments to keep up with, a patient can get overwhelmed. A day planner or scheduling book is a nice gift that will help them keep up with all of their appointments.
31. Pill organizer
These days you can find fun and stylish pill organizers, so gone are the days of your grandma’s clunky plastic pill containers. Help your loved one keep up with their medications (if they have any) with something fun and useful.
32. Stuffed animal
No matter the age, a cute and cuddly stuffed animal can always be a sweet and comforting gift.
33. Gift certificates
For those paying for cancer treatments, money can be tight. A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, a nice retail outlet or even the grocery store to help them with food expenses is a practical and thoughtful gift idea.
A handmade or locally made artistic pendant, bracelet or pin is a lovely gesture to show your friend how much you care and mark this difficult time in their life, reminding them of the support behind them. You can look up different gem stones and what each one means if you want to get really creative.
35. Haircare and accessories
Travel shampoos and hairsprays, a travel brush with soft bristles, hair ties and scrunchies, are all great ideas for the patient’s travel bag. Please do check though that they are not having the type of chemo where they will lose their hair before you get these.
36. Snacks (both healthy and treats)
Hospital food isn’t great, and for your friend may be too tired to cook, gifting them with a basket of their favorite snacks is a great idea. Go for a combination of a few indulgent items you know they love (their favorite candy bars or chips), with some healthier snacks (veggie crisps, rice cakes, dried fruit). Do please check whether their dietary requirements have changed though before you do this, as some cancer patients don’t eat chocolate or sugary items and for some their taste changes completely.
37. Noise machine
Sometimes it can be hard to sleep when you’re anxious about treatment or if you’re in pain. A noise machine can help shut out outside distractions and help them get to sleep easier.
38. Stress-relief gadgets
Items like fidget spinners, stress balls and other stress-relief trinkets aren’t just for kids. Having something to fix their hands on can help alleviate a great deal of anxiety and help your loved one relax.
Sometimes you just need to get outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. A comfy, durable hammock is a great way to help your loved one relax outdoors.
40. Colored pencils, markers and pens
For coloring, doodling, writing letters or keeping up with lists. Everybody loves colorful writing supplies.
A plush, elegant new robe in a soft, luxurious material is a gift that anyone would love and use every day.
A nice set of mugs with a witty phrase or logo is a great gift for the patient who loves their tea and coffee.
When undergoing treatment, you need entertainment to keep you occupied. A great gift idea is a subscription to a streaming tv service such as Netflix or Hulu, or a subscription to a music service such as Spotify.
Often when undergoing chemo you can feel sweaty, and a nice durable cloth/elastic headband can help push back the hair and provide comfort.
45. Power brick
If keeping up with a bulky phone charger isn’t convenient, purchase a power brick for your loved one to charge their phone or device on the go.
46. Step counter
For the patient who is trying to stay active and healthy, a step-counter or fitbit is a great gift idea.
47. Video games
Video games can be a good stress-relieving, fun activity to take your mind off things.
48. Homemade comfort food
From soups to casseroles, get in the kitchen and make your most comforting dish for your friend, full of warmth, love and delicious flavor. But, as mentioned above, do please check whether their dietary requirements have changed though before you do this.
49. Board games
Help them fight boredom with a fun board game or card game to pass the time and have lots of laughs. From Cards Against Humanity to Dominoes to Monopoly, there are hundreds to choose from.
Help them fight sore throat and dry mouth with some delicious lozenges in fun flavors. These days you can find hard candies that are cocktail-flavored, minty or herbal.
A set of fluffy, soft and comfortable towels are a great gift idea for someone who may need to shower often.
52. Comfortable clothing
A set of comfy PJs or some practical and breathable yoga pants or tanks are a nice idea for the patient who wants to be comfortable and still look stylish.
53. Weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are all the rage right now because they can help alleviate anxiety and pain and offer comfort and security for those who are stressed. For this reason they are a great gift for someone undergoing treatment.
54. Electric blanket
For sore muscles or to help warm a bed, an electric blanket is a great item to give as a gift.
55. Gift Basket
A basket containing several of the above-mentioned items, customized according to the needs and interests of your loved one, is a wonderful way to show them that you care and give them a gift full of surprises that will bring them joy and comfort that will last them a long time. Baskets, such as a breast cancer basket, a chemotherapy-comfort basket, or a “Congrats, you’ve beaten chemo!” basket are all good ideas.
56. Offer rides
Giving a patient rides to chemotherapy, to the doctor or even to the grocery store, so they can sit back and relax and not worry about driving, is a very useful and supportive thing to do.
57. Help them keep up with appointments
When you’re sick and in pain, it can be hard to keep up with all the various appointments. Helping them keep track will ensure they never miss an appointment.
58. Read to them
Just spending time with your loved one means so much. You don’t have to entertain them with constant conversation. Just taking the time to read to someone can help them relax and feel calmer. Why not pick a book you’ve both always wanted to read?
59. Watch their kids
If a friend has young children, why not offer to watch them a few days a week so they can have some alone time and get some rest? Offer to drive them to school or to their lessons, or take them for the weekend?
60. Help them with their house chores
Helping a friend clean their house or catch up on laundry so they can relax and take it easy is a wonderful way to show you care.
61. Cook for them
Taking the responsibility of cooking off their hands will free up their time so they can rest or just enjoy a quiet afternoon.
62. Run errands
Trying to juggle every day errands with cancer treatment can be exhausting and stressful. If you can take over a few of those weekly chores, such as doing a little shopping, dropping off the dry-cleaning or popping by the post office for a friend or loved one, it can make a huge difference to them.
63. Going for a walk/exercise
Doctors encourage cancer patients to exercise gently if they have the energy for it. Accompany your loved one on a walk or for a yoga class if they feel up to it. They’ll be thankful for your company and the quiet motivation you provide.
64. Take care of their pets
Pets are a source of comfort and loyalty for someone going through an illness. But taking care of a pet’s needs is sometimes exhausting for someone who is ill. Help keep their pet fed, walked and taken care of.
65. Advocate for them
Help your friend find resources for cancer patients in the area, such as support groups or assistance they qualify for, and if they have concerns about their treatment, speak to their doctor. Sometimes patients just don’t have the energy, or feel anxious about challenging their healthcare providers, but if they are concerned about something, in pain, or scared, you should let their doctor know.
Encourage your loved one to practice self-care with little easy to do at-home things like a facial or doing their nails, a foot rub or indulging in a girl’s night with a movie and some popcorn.
67. Check in regularly
Your loved one may be reluctant to “bother” you, not wanting to put too much on your plate or wary to ask for help. Check in with them regularly to see if they need anything and make sure they know that you’re happy to help them with whatever task they need.
These are just a few ideas for gifts that your friend or loved one with cancer might enjoy or find useful. Depending on their various interests and needs, you can create a customized, special gift that they will treasure. Providing them with something comforting and/or practical shows them how much you care.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to show someone support and care.