Flowers are bad gifts for chemo patients

How To Choose Useful & Comforting Gifts For Chemo Patients

We all know that chemotherapy can be a difficult time.  But whether someone has side effects and the extent of the side effects cannot always be predicted.  There are however some basic rules for getting gifts for chemo patients, that if you stick to you won’t go wrong.

What not to buy someone who is having chemotherapy

Although flowers and chocolates are typical ‘cheer-up’ and ‘get-well-soon’ gifts,  this is not the case for chemotherapy patients.

No flowers for someone having chemotherapyFlowers and plants

You should avoid giving fresh flowers and plants to people undergoing chemotherapy because they can carry germs.  These germs are harmless to a healthy person, but someone going a course of chemo has a reduced ability to fight infection, so flowers and plants can make them ill.

Chocolates and Other Food

Chemotherapy nausea is a common symptom of therapy and chemo patients are often advised to change their eating habits to cope with this, depending on their symptoms.  In addition, taste can change.  Things that a chemotherapy patient once enjoyed can temporarily give a bad taste.  So before buying any type of food its best to check what they can and can’t (or don’t want to) eat/drink.

Having said what you shouldn’t buy, there are a wide range of therapy safe comfort and practical gifts you can give, and some of them don’t have to cost you any money.

Comfort Gifts For Chemo Patients

Helping with stress

There is nothing more comforting than a listening ear.

If you have the time to spare a gift that won’t be forgotten is you actively listening to your friend undergoing chemo.  They may not want to talk, but knowing you are there for them can be a big help.  How to talk to someone with cancer and how you can help is discussed more in our article – Helping a friend with cancer: what you need to know. 

Occupying the time

A chemotherapy session consists of sitting in a chair or lying in a bed having infusions of medicine.  This can be very boring and there are many gifts that can help relieve the boredom and stress and add some comfort.  For example:-

Colouring books:  Not just for children, adult colouring books have been shown to relieve stress.  In a paper from Dr Miriam Rigby, a palliative care speciality doctor and Dr Mark Taubert, a consultant physician both at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, UK says “Our patients tell us that colouring can make the hours go a bit quicker….It relaxes the mind and the body,” and “While you are doing it, you concentrate only on that one task.”

Magazines: For all our cancer gift hampers , we decided not to include anything that is too mentally challenging like crosswords, sudoku or books.  Because many cancer drugs can cause temporary brain fog, these activities can become frustrating.  Magazines are, however, usually a lighter read and can be a welcome distraction.

Music: Relaxing music can help with stress and take up therapy time. So an itunes voucher, relaxing CD or MP3 player could help and provide some comfort.

Soothing comfort gifts

There are several comforting items that can help with chemotherapy symptoms which can be taken to treatment or used whilst convalescing at home.

Examples are

  • Snuggly blankets and bed socks can help soothe the extremities which can get cold during chemotherapy.
  • Moisturisers and hand creams to counteract any dryness caused by therapy.
  • Hand massages to help with the stiffness that chemotherapy can cause.

Useful Chemotherapy Gifts

Sometimes people don’t want comfort, they need practical gifts to help them through treatment and convalescence.  These usually have to be tailored to the chemotherapy patients individual needs, but we have some general suggestions below.

Help around the house

Setting up a rota to help at home or help to get to treatments can be very useful.  Most people have busy lives and when you add to that the need to go to chemotherapy appointments, the everyday tasks like cleaning and shopping get ignored.  This can add to stress.

Bag for snacks

A common suggestion to help with chemotherapy nausea is to eat little and often.  A good way to help this is to carry food around when on-the-go.  So a light food carrier can be a great help.  To keep by the bed, in the car and to take to therapy sessions.

Fancy water bottle

It is always good to stay hydrated and cancer dehydration is a real risk to the general health of a chemotherapy patient.  The gift of a  fancy water bottle will make sure that your friend always has water at hand.


Almost everyone these days has a mobile phone, smartphone, MP3 player or tablet and it is very likely that these will be used during chemotherapy sessions.  A portable power bank will ensure that these electrical devices don’t run out.

Anti-nausea wristbands

Anti-nausea wristbands are a drug-free way to help control nausea that can be caused by chemotherapy.  It is something that a chemotherapy patient may not have thought to buy but can be a welcome gift.

Some Of Our Chemotherapy Gifts

  • Deluxe Chemotherapy Care Package:For Comfort & SIde Effect Relief

    Deluxe Comfort For Chemotherapy Care Package

    Gift Now
  • Chemotherapy Survival Kit From Cancer Care Parcel

    Thoughtful Chemotherapy Survival Kit

    Gift Now
  • End Of Chemotherapy Gift Hamper

    End of Chemotherapy Gift Package

    Gift Now
  • Ultimate gift for male cancer patients-12%

    Deluxe Cancer Care Gift Package For Men

    Gift Now
  • Ultimate Woman's Cancer Care Package-12%

    Luxurious Woman’s Cancer Care Package

    Gift Now
  • Little Chemo Kit

    Little Chemo Kit For Adults

    Gift Now
  • Ultimate Chemotherapy Care Package

    Ultimate Chemotherapy Care Package

    Gift Now
  • A gift hamper to help with Cancer Nausea

    Say No To Nausea Gift Box: A Thoughtful Chemotherapy Gift Hamper

    Gift Now
  • Cancer Comfort Gift Hamper For Adults

    Cancer Comfort Gift Hamper For Adults

    Gift Now
  • Childhood Cancer Gift Box

    Chemo Patient Ladybird Gift Box | For Kids

    Gift Now
  • Teenage Girl Chemotherapy Survival Kit

    Mermaid Chemo Survival Kit For Teenagers

    Gift Now


  1. That’s a lovely idea! I wonder if it could be rolled out to other patients as much of this advice would be applicable to illnesses such as MS or ME too.

  2. I wouldn’t argue with most of that having gone through it for 2 years I used to find having a oxo or bovril helped me to. Eat

  3. Cancer Care Parcel

    Thank you for your comment Claire, our expertise is cancer, but would be happy to collaborate with someone who has experience of other illnesses.

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