10 Gifts for Cancer Patients
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
To help make treatment easier
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I know it's hard to buy a gift for a cancer patient. I know this because I was the type of cancer patient that didn't want to be any more of a hassle to loved ones than I already was, so I didn't ask for much. I didn't express my needs very well in an attempt to not be "bothersome".
This left my loved ones often feeling as though they were at a loss as to how to help.
If you find yourself in a similar situation or if you're simply struggling to find something that will actually help them, then you're in the right place.
Below you will find a list of 10 items that I, myself, personally used during my fight with stage IV cancer or something that I wish I would have had to make life easier.
If you like the list below, I suggest for you to check out my Amazon Page where I have created a more comprehensive list of items related to a variety of walks of life when it comes to cancer here: Jessica Bell-Alvarez Amazon Cancer Lists.
1. Cancer Planner
I’m so passionate about this, that I’ve created a whole post on the benefits of using a planner during treatment found here. It was a life changer for my own cancer battle journey. This particular planner is designed specifically for cancer patients and is loaded with detailed sections that are meant to help where it's needed most. Here’s just some of it's highlights:
Monthly planner and daily reminders
Symptom trackers which allow patients to keep track of their side effects or ailments, making this a priceless tool in keeping the oncologist informed on what has been going on since the last appointment.
Appointment trackers to write down questions for the oncologist, as well as room to write the answers along with any other concerns or important details from the appointment.
Positive affirmations and positivity exercises that help balance the patients mental/emotional state during treatment.
Sections designed to keep track of test results, health history, medications, insurance details, and allergies.
Areas to set goals, to assess needed improvement, and designate monthly themes.
It comes complete with a sturdy cover and inner pockets to hold extra notes as well as a pen holder pouch.
The planner also has a section devoted to providing advice and information to cancer patients such as helpful cancer resources, chemotherapy tip sheet, diet plan tips, and even suggested questions to ask the oncologist.
Because this planner has so many valuable resources and has clearly been thought through so well, I can’t help but place this as the top suggested gift for anyone going through cancer treatment. By the way, I’m not the only cancer patient who has thought this was a life saver. Check out the reviews here on Amazon to see just how many patients are appreciative of this well thought out planner.
2. Shower Steamers
Shower steamers are enjoyed by simply placing them in a corner of the shower where they put off calming scents. The fact that they are meant for a shower is great because sometimes cancer patients aren’t allowed to take baths, only showers (after surgery, port placement, if certain medical conditions arise) so it’s nice to be able to still pamper ourselves once in a while.
These are not only pretty but they actually have a strong enough scent that you can smell them when in use. There are several scents to try in this one box and they come packaged nicely, ready for gift giving.
3. Gift of Amazon Prime
A subscription to free 2-day shipping from the largest online company in the world? Let's just say it's beyond handy for a cancer patient with very little energy to run to the store. Plus, with chemo brain I was constantly forgetting what I needed when I was in an actual store leaving me needing to go back constantly. That was hard considering how miserable I felt; one trip was more than enough energy for the day. It’s so much easier to just add items to my Amazon cart and checkout knowing it’s going to be brought to me within a couple of days.
Another thing I want to mention is the fact that later on in my treatment, during the hardest times, I was physically unable to walk around a store due to treatment side effects. My family would either go for me or push me around in a wheelchair. As mentioned earlier, I didn't like asking people to do things for me because I felt I was bothersome enough. So, having the convenience of things being shipped to me in a short time frame was extremely helpful. Plus, not having to go to the store helps keep us safe from germs (chemo = immune system killer).
You can give it as a gift here.
4. Disinfectant Wipes
I realize that to most people, the thought of receiving disinfecting wipes as a gift might not be very appealing. But trust me when I say, to someone who is enduring cancer treatment it’s like getting pure gold. We are constantly struggling and trying to stay as far away from germs as we possibly can in an attempt to avoid getting sick while chemo has our immune systems in hostage mode.
Catching a bug while enduring chemotherapy simply isn’t a chance that we are willing to take considering that it might result in a hospital stay or even worse. A very common virus that I would have normally been able to beat off easily left me in the hospital for days during treatment. So, anything to help us stay protected is worthy of an air-high-five.
I myself prefer this brand found on the link above, as they are gentle on the skin (chemo & radiation skin will thank you) and they do the job of killing the germs. PLEASE NOTE: I get the red or yellow set. I do not get the green “extra gentle sensitive skin” set as it doesn’t claim that it kills 99.9% of germs. I’ve found that the red and yellow sets DO kill 99.9% of germs and are still gentle enough for my sensitive skin. I’m recommending this size of packet because it fits easily in every vehicle, purse and bag that I carry and the flap that re-seals itself actually re-seals nicely (no more leaks in your bag). Plus, you get 10 packets. You can buy it here.
5. Jesus Listens Devotional by Sarah Young
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I had a sweet friend gift me a bible and a devotional. Up until then, I misunderstood God as condemning and cruel. Thankfully, her lovely gift changed that. It not only showed me God’s true identity as a loving caring Father, but also renewed my mind and restored a hope within me. Both things, I desperately needed. Because of my own personal experience with receiving God’s Word as a gift during treatment, I have to say that it was truly the best gift of all as it helped combat the mental/emotional aspect of fighting cancer (which is a MAJOR component by the way).
This devotional is unique in the way that it portrays Jesus talking directly to you the reader. It has helped me gain a better understanding of Jesus’s healing power, God’s love for me, and the Holy Spirit’s on-going presence. So whether the cancer patient you are looking to buy for is still searching for the love of Christ or is a long time follower, this devotional speaks right to the heart of the pain they are enduring to help restore and renew their lives.
6. Chemo Bag
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a t-shirt or sticker that screams "CANCER SUCKS" every now and then when I’m feeling a little extra saucy...but to scream it on the bag that is taken to each and every chemotherapy treatment? Sometimes I just want a well put together (and stylish) bag that doesn’t make me feel like a walking cancer anthem.
I personally have this one here. It's a great size, lots of pockets to hold additional items (lotions, hand sanitizing wipes, just all the necessities) and is a good quality for the price. I love it.
But, if you're wanting to give a bit higher quality one or don't particularly care for that style I also love this second one here. Now, it might be on the pricier side but it's sturdy, carries comfortably, looks lovely, and even large enough to house my laptop, planner, sanitizer, socks, phone, and everything else I need. The two brown leather colors are my personal favorite but they have several options to best suit whichever color you feel they would enjoy most.
For both options, possibly the best part, is that after treatment they can still be used as a computer or travel bag.
7. A Cancer Made Mess by Jessica Bell-Alvarez
I remember at each oncology visit there was at least one woman sitting in the waiting room reading a cancer book. When one of the fellow patients gave me her own favorite list of cancer books, she kept expressing to me how she gained so much insight, understanding, and a sense of belonging while reading other people’s stories. So, I dived in...and wow, was she right.
It’s an understatement to say that reading another person’s cancer journey helped me throughout my own. It did more than just “help”. It healed.
I found that there’s a level of healing that needs to take place in a cancer patients (and survivors) life that can only come from being known, seen, heard, and understood in full by fellow survivors. And as much as those around me wanted to provide that understanding for me, to help me heal, they weren’t able to because they themselves had not gone through cancer. I understand that this may seem a little confusing to family members or friends of cancer patients but please know that it’s not because we don’t value your input or appreciate your support. It’s simply because hearing from someone who has “been there” provides something that can be gathered no where else.
That’s precisely why I have written this book, to help others attain that same healing. I’ve had numerous cancer patients contact me since my book was published telling me such things as “you put into words what I couldn’t express” or “this brought so much healing”. So please believe me, there is healing for your loved one within the pages of this book. Even if their story is a bit different (type, stage, treatment, or even gender of patient...) the feelings, emotions, fears, and thoughts are often the same.
8. Immune Support Tea
Not only is tea always a good gift to give, but these tea bags help give us a boost to our immune systems. The ingredients are perfect for cancer patients with low immune systems due to chemotherapy. There's nothing funny here, nothing that claims too-good-to-be-true results, no gimmicks - just real natural herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants that you can get from a healthy diet, but rather, in the form of tea.
Tea is great for cancer patients because sometimes our stomachs can't hold down the foods that we should be eating. Or sometimes, we just simply don't feel like putting out the effort or energy to eat healthy...as sad as that sounds, it was true for me.
Yes, we could simply take vitamins. But I prefer tea because it’s soothing on a sore throat, tastes great, and helps calm and comfort me. If you would rather gift them supplements for whatever reason, I suggest these chewables here as they help provide essentials along with energy without using caffeine. Why chewables and not pills? Goodness, us cancer people have taken enough pills. Why can’t we just get to enjoy taking something that’s going to improve our health? Chemo = horrible. Pills = not so enjoyable. Chewables or Tea = lovely. :)
9. Cancer Survivor Scripture Cards
After my diagnosis I felt devastated and unsure as to how to move forward. That’s when I realized the true power of scripture. I wrote down some of my favorite verses on cheap sticky notes and placed them around my house. I would read them anytime I passed by, reminding myself of God’s good plan for me. A few weeks went by of doing this and I realized that my mindset had started to shift. My hope was being restored and my life was changing for the better. Finally!
That’s why I’ve created a version of scripture cards specific for cancer patients (and survivors) to help them experience the same loving transformative power of God’s Word.
You can find them here.
10. Heated Blanket
From someone who has spent a large amount of time in a chemotherapy room, let me tell you: it gets cold. Not only is the temperature set to be chilly on purpose, but they are also pumping you full of not only cold chemo, but other cold fluids that chill you to your bones. Plus, to avoid mouth sores, we are encouraged to eat popsicles or gnaw on ice the entire time. Some patients even opt into wearing cold caps (basically ice packs on your head) to avoid hair loss (talk about freezing, I'm sure). I missed out on the cold cap therapy, but even with the other factors...I was still freezing.
I had nice nurses though that helped warm me with their warmed throws now and then. But, I had to ask for it. I already felt like I was being too much trouble and needing too much attention/care that I often just sat there and stayed cold (silly I know). But again, as mentioned before, us cancer patients often don't want to "bother" people, even if it's their job to take care of us, since we feel as though we are burden enough already to those around us. So, all this to say. I truly wish I had a heating blanket. There are plug-ins (a lot of them) around the chairs we get chemotherapy in, so it is very feasible to have one. It's just having the foresight to think "I wish I had a heated blanket" is where the hold up is. But that's why you're here reading this now!
Even if they decide to not take it to chemotherapy appointments, the heating blankets are lovely to have around the house when our bones start aching from that darn Neulasta shot (the immune system booster shot).
Want more ideas? I created an even larger list of items for cancer patients (and survivors) found here that you can check out.
I hope this list has helped you find something that you feel will help your loved one's journey be a little smoother. Remember, just because they aren't asking for the items doesn't mean they wouldn't appreciate them, it might simply be because they don't want to be any more of a "burden" to you as they already feel they are.
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