It’s hard to know what to say when someone is sick. You want to be positive, but at the same time, you don’t want to belittle what your friend is experiencing. You want to show support, but you can’t take away the pain and discomfort they may encounter. You want to be a good friend, but if you have never experienced cancer, you may not know what to say.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Ideas for a Loved One Experiencing Chemo or Radiation
- Ideas for a Loved One Who Had a Mastectomy or Another Breast Cancer-Related Surgery
- End-of-Treatment Gift Ideas for a Loved One With Breast Cancer
Instead of saying anything, why not create a care package for your friend who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Here are some thoughtful items to put in a breast cancer care package. While some of the items on this list may be pricey, remember that the best gift you can give to your friend is your emotional support — for free.
Ideas for a Loved One Experiencing Chemo or Radiation
Your friend or loved one may be dreading chemo or radiation treatments. While the medicine does its job killing cancer cells, it may cause unpleasant side effects that may leave your friend exhausted and ill.
Here are a few items to consider putting in a gift basket for someone getting ready to start chemo or radiation. Some of the things would make good virtual gifts if you need to send something from afar.
1. Subscription for audiobook service
No matter how addicted your friend is to a game on their phone, she’s going to get tired of playing it after the long hours in the treatment room.
Why not give your friend a subscription to an audiobook service to help them fill the time? If your friend isn’t a reader, give them suggestions of funny or uplifting books that will help them keep their mind off what is happening to their body.
2. Tote bag
Buy your friend a fun, cheerful tote bag that they can use to haul their iPad, snacks, and water bottle to and from the doctor’s office. There are plenty of breast cancer-related tote bags available online.
Find a company that donates a portion of the tote bag profits to breast cancer research so it’s even more meaningful. Consider personalizing the tote bag with your friend’s name.
Give your friend a luxurious cardigan sweater to wear at their chemo appointment. Choose something soft and in your friend’s favorite color. The sweater will keep your friend warm when they spends time in the cold treatment room.
Purchase healthy prepackaged snacks for your friend. While they may not be able to enjoy them during treatment, eating a bag of pretzels may keep your friend from feeling nauseous on the way home.
Ask your friend if they are on a restricted diet before purchasing food.
5. Water bottle
All of us need to stay hydrated, but it is especially essential for individuals going through cancer treatment. Buy a cute, BPA-safe water bottle that your friend will be happy to carry wherever they go.
6. Ginger candy
Your friend may experience nausea from their chemotherapy treatment. Since ginger is supposed to be a natural remedy, consider purchasing candy with real ginger in it. There are plenty of online suppliers if you have difficulty finding it at your favorite local store.
Ideas for a Loved One Who Had a Mastectomy or Another Breast Cancer-Related Surgery
Are you looking for a get well gift for a friend who just had a mastectomy? While they may appreciate a beautiful vase of cut flowers or an easy-to-care-for houseplant, here are some other options.
Your friend may spend an extended period at home before returning to their normal life. For that reason, give them something warm and comfortable to wear while walking around the house. Don’t forget to buy the matching pair of slippers!
8. House cleaning
Your friend will be out of commission for a while and will be unable to clean their shower or sweep their floor.
One great way to send get well wishes is to hire a maid service to clean their house. You could also volunteer to complete the tasks instead, but they may feel more comfortable with a stranger cleaning their toilet than their best friend.
9. Oil diffuser
Some people swear by aromatherapy. If you think that the smell of lavender would help reduce your friend’s anxiety, consider buying an oil diffuser. Some people use essential oils to help reduce nausea as well. Candles would also be an appropriate gift.
If you know your friend’s food preferences, consider providing a few meals for them and their family to enjoy while recovering from surgery.
Your friend will not be able to cook during recovery, and the other members of their family may struggle to keep up with all the household duties. Not only would your friend enjoy a home-cooked meal, but their family would appreciate it as well.
11. Beauty supplies
Your friend may need help feeling like their old self again after surgery. Consider purchasing their favorite beauty supplies or treating them to a makeover at their favorite makeup counter.
Perhaps your friend will feel better when they look better, although you may be careful with the words you use to suggest this.
12. Fruit arrangement
Even if your friend doesn’t have a great appetite after their surgery, they still may be able to tolerate fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is even more tempting if it is arranged beautifully.
Buy an edible arrangement for your friend and their family to enjoy. Fresh fruit not only promotes healing, but it also can rehydrate the body after surgery.
End-of-Treatment Gift Ideas for a Loved One With Breast Cancer
Plenty of lists promise the best gift ideas for cancer patients. But what do you give someone who just rang the bell at their last cancer treatment? This gift should be celebratory and life-affirming.
Remember that even though your friend may be finished with treatments, they may not consider it remission until months later. You may want to avoid shirts and mugs declaring that your friend “beat” cancer. These items may be especially difficult to bear if their cancer returns later. Do you need ideas? Keep reading!
What is it about a huge bunch of balloons that puts a smile on everyone’s face? Fill your friend’s car, apartment, or house with dozens of pink helium balloons.
Remember, since your friend underwent a round of treatment, they may not feel like partying with you for a few more weeks. But this may be the time to start planning a big fiesta, a girls’ night out, or weekend trip to their favorite city.
14. Gift card to clothing store
Your friend’s clothing size may have changed after going through cancer treatment. Purchase a gift card to the mall or their favorite clothing store to help them restock their wardrobe.
Even if their size didn’t change, your friend might feel energized to try different styles after going through cancer treatment.
Cancer changes the body, but it also affects the mind. Your friend may have a lot of emotions to sort through after going through cancer treatment.
Give them a journal, perhaps one with prompts, to encourage reflection and goal-setting.
16. Concert tickets
If your friend spent months of social distancing during their cancer treatment, they might be ready to have a little fun.
Splurge on great concert tickets for your friend. Hire a limo to drive you to the event to make the evening extra special. Don’t forget to create a sign for your friend that alerts the performer to your friend’s recent struggle.
17. Handwritten note
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a heartfelt gift. Consider writing a sincere note to your friend who recently underwent a struggle. Tell them how you feel about them and how much you value their friendship.
18. Bucket list item
Facing cancer sometimes causes people to reevaluate what they want out of life. Your friend’s bucket list items may have changed as a result of facing the disease.
They may feel more urgency now to complete their bucket list items. Help your friend cross some of these goals off of their list after they complete their final treatment.
Other Care Package Ideas to Consider
Besides purchasing a physical gift, you may consider checking on which streaming entertainment services your friend has available. Your friend may want to binge-watch some of their favorite shows while waiting for their radiation appointment or while healing at home.
More than anything else, make sure you are there for your friend emotionally. Fighting cancer is hard on the body, but your friend will experience new emotions. Be their sounding board. Let them share their thoughts and feelings with you without passing judgment.