Estimated reading time: 17 minutes
The process of going through chemotherapy can be scary and, at times, alienating. If you have a friend or loved one going through chemo, you may be trying to find a way in which you can show your support and let them know you are there for them, no matter what.
There are many gifts you can give to show your support, including the gift of your time and/or someone they can talk to. But there are also things you should avoid buying any cancer patient. These are discussed further here.
With these in mind, here are our 78 best gift ideas for a chemotherapy patient, in no particular order. They may not all be suitable, you know your friend better than we do and something personalized, just for them, shows that you have given their gift a lot of thought. So as you go through this list please think of who your friend / loved one is and what you think would benefit them the best.
1. Fluffy Socks
When you are undergoing chemotherapy, you have to sit still for a large amount of time. You are also more susceptible to the cold, so a trusted pair of fluffy socks is a nice comforting chemo gift.
Hats are another great way to ensure your friend will stay warm during treatment. When selecting a hat, ensure that it is made of a soft, gentle fabric. But remember that not everyone who has chemo loses their hair, so you might juist want to buy a hat for warm=tha and not hair loss. Plus hair loss can be a sensitive subject, so make sure this is the correct thing to buy with the patient or the people who are close to them first. Everyone is different and everyone responds to treatment differently.
Scarves are another good gift for chemo patients, to help keep them warm during treatment. We suggest that they are small and lightweight, so they can be layered.
Our hands are the first parts of our bodies to feel the cold. You should try to get ‘touch-screen’ friendly gloves that will still allow phone usage.
Cardigans are another excellent gift idea, especially as they can be taken on and off when needed. Opt for soft, gentle fabric as opposed to heavy, itchy knits.
6. Hot Water Bottle
If you’re feeling a little chilly, a hot water bottle is a great way to warm yourself up. You may wish to purchase more than one – a small one they can bring along to appointments and a larger one when relaxing at home.
7. A Good Book
When undergoing chemotherapy treatment, you have a lot of time on your hands. Therefore, you may wish to give your loved one a collection of books. Maybe try to get your hands on a mixture of genres. Sometimes people on chemo have brain fog, so it might be best to get something light and easy to read.
Another common symptom associated with chemotherapy is dry skin around their hands, which can often appear red or cracked. So a gentle non-perfumed hand cream might be welcome.
8. A Colouring Book and Colouring Pencils
Adult colouring books are a great stress-reliever and can help pass the time quicker. And if you’re getting your friend or loved one a coloring book, it only makes sense to get them some good quality pens and pencils to help bring their work to life!
A notebook is another excellent gift idea for someone going through chemotherapy; they can use it to track their appointments or write about how they are feeling.
10. Puzzle Books
Puzzle books can help pass the time during treatment, as long as the person does not have ‘chemo brain fog‘. Some great options include Sudoku, word searches, and crosswords.
11. Soft Blanket
A blanket is a great comfort item and can also help fight off any feelings of cold. Chose a lightweight and soft blanket so that it can easily be carried.
12. Heated Blanket
If your friend or loved one is feeling particularly cold, a heated blanket is the perfect chemo gift idea – it can have them feeling toasty and warm in no time at all!
13. A Skincare Set
When undergoing chemotherapy, many patients find that their skin feels particularly dry. As a result, you may wish to buy some skincare products, but make sure they are not heavily perfumed and are as gentle as possible, so as not to irritate.
14. Hand And Nail Cream
Some cancer treatments may affect skin and nails and moisturizing the skin regularly can reduce soreness and pain. So a good hand and nail cream is an important addition to this best chemotherapy gifts list.
When undergoing chemotherapy, patients have to isolate themselves. As a result, they may not be able to attend a spa treatment. Bring the spa to them by gifting them with some gentle facemasks.
16. Bubble Bath or Shower Gel
If your friend is suffering from aches and pains, you can purchase a specialist bubble bath designed to soothe tired and aching muscles.
Shower gel can also be a great gift, especially if you buy products designed to help ease some of the symptoms they are feeling – such as fatigue, tension, or anxiety.
Just make sure that the bubble bath or shower gel is gentle on the skin as you friend may be more sensitive than usual.
17. Hand Soap
When undergoing chemotherapy, your friend and those around them will need to pay closer attention to their hygiene as they will be more susceptible to infection. So a nice gentle handsoap might be welcome.
When undergoing chemotherapy, headphones are essential for some, to ensure the chemo patient can ‘check out’ from what is happening around them and listen to their music, audiobooks, or Television show in peace.
Sometimes, a patient may prefer to sleep during their chemotherapy treatment. Earplugs block out the surrounding noise, meaning they will fall asleep quicker. They might also help later in the day , when at home and trying to get much needed rest.
20. An Audiobook Subscription
Physical copies of books can be heavy and difficult to carry around and sometimes more mentally draining than an audiobook. Therefore, your friend may benefit from a subscription to an audiobook service, such as audible. They can then sit back, relax, and listen to a new book each month!
21. Music Service Subscription
A subscription to a music service, such as Spotify, can provide your friends with hours of entertainment. You could even make them a personalised playlist.
22. TV/Film Streaming Subscription
Like a music subscription, a TV streaming subscription can help pass the long hours your friend is spending at the hospital or inside their home.
23. Amazon Prime Subscription
As a result of the treatment, your friend may not be able to visit the shops. By providing them with a subscription to Amazon Prime, they can order anything they need to be delivered to their door the very next day.
A Kindle is lightweight, compact, and can contain thousands of books in its hard drive. As a result, its an excellent gift for a bookworm undergoing chemotherapy.
25. A Chemotherapy Care Parcel
Chemotherapy gift packages from Cancer Care Parcel are designed by people who have had experience with cancer and chemo and are packed with gifts that will genuinely help. Many items have been selected to specifically reduce chemo side effects.
As well as reducing specific side effects these presents give peace of mind, knowing that there are many items at hand that will help.
Pampering and comforting items, together with practical and useful gifts makes these ideal care packs for people undergoing chemotherapy.
Below is a selection of chemo hampers
When undergoing treatment, comfort is always key. Therefore, a pair of cozy slippers are always an excellent choice for a gift.
27. Portable chargers
Your friend is likely to be using many devices during this time, which can quickly run out of battery. A portable charger ensures they always have access to the materials they need.
28. Portable games console
Game consoles are a great way to pass the time. Even better, your loved one can play online against friends and family, staying connected during this difficult time.
During treatment, a patient should have access to snacks. Try to provide them with a mixture of healthy, nutritious food and a few sweet treats. But please be sure to follow our guidelines on chemo patients’ dietary changes, and what they should and should not eat.
30. Board Games
Travel-sized boardgames are another great way to pass the time and can be can be played with family, friends, or other patients.
Puzzles, such as jigsaws, can be a great way to distract from the treatment and also something to do at home whilst convalescing.
32. Water Bottle
Good hydration is always important and critical during treatment. Therefore a good quality water bottle is a nice choice of gift.
33. Inflatable Pillow
As it is essential that your friend remains comfortable throughout treatment an inflatable pillow is a great way to support them and can easily be stored away when it isn’t needed.
A spacious backpack is a great way to ensure there is enough space to carry everything they need, and means they won’t have to carry multiple bags to treatments.
35. Neck Pillow
During chemotherapy, your friend will spend a lot of time sitting down. This can put pressure on their neck in particular, meaning a neck pillow is an excellent gift!
36. V-shaped Pillow
If your friend feels fatigued or uncomfortable, a v pillow is a great way to help them relax and unwind.
37. Magazine Subscription
Whether they are a fashion lover or a fan of crafts, finding a magazine subscription that matches your friend’s interests will provide them with hour upon hour of entertainment during treatment and when resting at home.
38. A Home-Cooked Meal or a Takeaway
You can be a big help by providing them with home-cooked meals to their door. Alternatively, you can batch cook and store meals in their freezer so that all they have to do is heat it.
However, sometimes, there is nothing better than a good takeaway at the end of a long day. So you could perhaps treat your friend to a take-out from their favorite restaurant.
But before you make or buy a meal please do make sure you understand the effects of chemo on appetite and diet and if in doubt ask if certain foods are OK.
39. Vouchers for Takeaways/Restaurant
Your friend may already be dreaming about the first place they can go after their treatment is complete, when they don’t feel so nauseous and can go back to their old eating habits. You can make this experience even more special by gifting them with a voucher from their favorite restaurant.
40. Lip Balm
When undergoing treatment, your friend may experience dry and flaky skin around their lips. A delicate non-fragranced lip balm is a great way to combat this, making it an excellent gift.
41. Cool Bag
There is nothing worse than going to take a sip of water, and it is warm! Help ensure your friend stays hydrated by giving them a small cool bag in which they can store their water and snacks.
42. Anti-Sickness Bracelets
Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy; as a result, an anti-sickness bracelet can help give some relief with no additional side effects.
43. Listen To Them
Sometimes, the best gifts are those you don’t spend money on. Simply being there for your friend, listening to them is enough.
44. Support Their Family/Friends
Another gift you can give your friend is ensuring that their family gets enough support during this time – as their spouse or loved ones may be struggling too.
45. Do Their Shopping
A chemotherapy patient is not only immunocompromised but may feel sick and /or week after treatment. So they won’t be able to head to the shops as easily as they did before. Therefore, one gift you can give them is to offer to do their shopping either as a one-off, or regularly.
46. Become Their PA
A novel gift could be helping your friend manage their time better, by taking care of some of their affairs. For example, you could answer any calls they might get or communicate with their workplace. Obviously this needs consent and alot of discussion with your friend or loved-one.
47. Laundry Service
Laundry is another household task that becomes 10x more difficult when you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. So paying for a laundry service for your friend or doing it yourself can help take some of the pressure off them.
48. Eye Mask
An eye-mask can block out surrounding lights and relieve tension. This can help them sleep more comfortably both during chemo and in convalescence.
High-quality loungewear can help your friend feel comfortable and relaxed, no matter where they may be.
When undergoing chemotherapy, many patients experience fatigue and may spend more time in bed. Prioritise their comfort and help them unwind with a luxurious pyjama set!
51. Functional Clothing
Although many people chose to wear loungewear when undergoing treatment, others prefer to stick to their usual clothing style. You can support them during this time by buying clothes they will love but are functional.
52. Travel Toothbrush
Your friend may feel as though their mouth is quite dry or experience an unpleasant taste in their mouth during chemo. A travel toothbrush means they can help ease some of these symptoms.
Mints are a great way to help somebody freshen up and can also be used to alleviate feelings of chemo-induced nausea.
As mentioned previously, patients undergoing chemotherapy may need a way to wash out bad tastes from their mouths, and mouthwash is a great way to do this.
Ginger, whether in the form of sweets or herbal tea, is an excellent tool in fighting feelings of nausea and sickness and can make a great gift.
56. Essential Oils
Essential oils have been proven to help battle feelings of stress and anxiety and promote a good night’s sleep. In fact studies in cancer populations indicate that patients exposed to essential oils had reduced anxiety, stress, and nausea and improved sleep. Aromatherapy is generally considered safe, but allergic/hypersensitivity reactions and contact dermatitis have been reported with lavender, bergamot, and other essential oils. So it’s best to check with your friend whether they have any sensitivities before buying.
57. Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals are a traditional gift to give to somebody when they are sick – and for a good reason. Sweet and comforting, they can be the best choice for the right type of person,
58. Memory Books
Scrapbooks or photo albums are a great way to show somebody you have been thinking about them and can help lift their spirits considerably.
59. Framed Prints
Framed prints are another great gift option, especially if you find the perfect photograph to feature. Focus on memories you have shared that capture your relationship entirely.
60. Stress Ball
Sometimes, a chemotherapy patient will need to find a way to relieve their stress and tension. A stress ball is a great choice!
61. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas have a range of benefits, from settling an uneasy stomach to soothing anxiety and stress. You can now also find teas to help sleep, relax, be more awake…… There is such a wide variety. And the great thing about herbal teas is that they are naturally caffeine-free, so you don’t have to worry about any caffeine side effects. You can also get some great gift sets. For any tea lover, the possibilities are endless.
62. Embroidery Set
Many patients enjoy taking part in crafts during their treatment, so an embroidery set could give them plenty of opportunities to try out something new and stay productive.
63. Ipad/Phone Stand
An Ipad stand is an excellent choice because it means that you don’t constantly have to have the device in your hands, which can be tiresome when watching a movie or listening to music.
64. Charity Donation
If your loved one is relying on the support of a particular charity during this time, they may prefer that friends make a charitable donation as opposed to purchasing a gift.
65. Heating Pads
If your loved one is experiencing any aches and pains, heating pads are a useful gift as they can help deal with pain and relieve any tension they may be holding in their muscles.
66. Silk Bedding
Silk bedding is an excellent gift, not only does it feel soft and luxurious, it is excellent for those with sensitive skin, and unlike other materials does not collect dust.
67. Online Guided Meditation Class
Meditation can be a great way to relax, but if you have never done it before, it can be hard to know where to start. An online class with an instructor means they will be able to get to grips with the basics.
68. Become a Chauffeur
Chemotherapy patients often have to visit the hospital multiple times a week, and it can be challenging to organise their travel. Offering to be their chauffeur can take a lot of pressure off their shoulders.
A cosy bathrobe means they will be comfortable no matter where they go and can be worn year-round.
70. Hobby Related Gifts
Just because they are undergoing chemotherapy, does not mean your friend will want to let go of their hobbies and interests, so gifts focused around these are an excellent choice.
71. Eye Gel Mask
If your friend is feeling fatigued, a gel eye mask is a great way to fight against dark circles and to relax, helping them feel more like their ‘normal’ self.
72. Lap Tray
A lap tray ensures that your friend does not have to balance loads of things directly on their lap and that they have easy access to everything they need when resting in bed or on the sofa.
73. USB Light
A USB light is a useful gift, especially if your friend likes to read late at night as they won’t have to disturb anyone or go out of their way to turn the light off.
74. Foot Spa
A foot spa is another great way to ensure your friend can relax and unwind, especially if they are feeling particularly tired or groggy.
75. Body Roller
Chemotherapy patients often hold a lot of tension in their body – a body roller can be a great way to help them relax their muscles and unwind. Do check first though whether they have had any lymph nodes removed. As a massage in areas of lymph node removal is not recommended.
76. A Night ‘In’.
If your friend can’t go out – you can go to them! Watch your favorite movie and bring your night out inside their home.
77. Fidget Spinner
Fidget spinners are more than just a toy; they have been proven to help deal with feelings of stress and anxiety as it gives them something to do with their hands.
78. A Promise
Have you always planned on going on a dream holiday together? Although your friend may have to stay at home now, you could make plans for the future. Promise to do the things you’ve always wanted to do together! and then keep the promise.
Final Word On Buying The Best Chemo Gifts
Although we have tried to give our best gift ideas for a chemotherapy patient, each person is individual, has their own likes and dislikes, and will respond to treatment differently. So please make sure you get something appropriate to them and their treatment. The best gift you can always give is your time and a listening ear. A great chemo gift is a nice added extra or an important indication that you care about them when you cannot be there in person to give support. We are very happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions…..
Dr Cohen started her working life as a research scientist and lecturer with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
She followed a classical scientific career until she left mainstream science in 2000 (which coincided with the birth of her first daughter) to establish the Life Science Communications company, Euroscicon Ltd.
Euroscicon Ltd was her first company (which she sold in 2016).
In 2013 Dr Cohen was diagnosed with Cancer and set up Cancer Care Parcel which provides appropriate gifts for people with cancer.
Dr Cohen is the lead scientific advisor at Optimised Healthcare. A medical profiling company which provides advanced disease prediction, prevention and wellness optimization services.
She also works with and establishes businesses and charities which benefit local, national and international communities.
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