40+ Cancer Survivor Gift Ideas for a Loved One

Updated

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A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Innovative therapies are increasing the survival rates for many types of cancer. There are many documentaries about people overcoming cancer thanks to these new treatments. This news is worth celebrating. If you know someone whose cancer has gone into remission, it’s time to have a party. And what’s a party without gifts? 

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Here are some great gift ideas for someone who fought cancer and survived. Just like your mom always told you, it’s not the gift that matters. The sentiment is what is important. Your loved one will appreciate that you took the time to commemorate this moment. 

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Gift Ideas for a Breast, Ovarian, or Uterine Cancer Survivor

It’s possible that your loved one who survived breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer has some scars. These could be physical or emotional scars. A gift can help as they recover. Here are some gift ideas to help celebrate a good report from the doctor.

1. Clothes

Weight loss is a common side effect of cancer treatment. Your loved one may have lost weight, but may not have the energy to shop for clothes to fit their new body. Consider purchasing a gift card to their favorite local clothing store.

That way they can splurge on a couple of new outfits. Go shopping with your friend and encourage them to push their style and color boundaries. 

2. Bras 

If your loved one had breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy or mastectomy, she may need new bras. Since she will likely wear a new size, purchasing a gift card is probably the best option. It can be difficult to determine the correct size garment on your own and sizing can differ between brands.

If you are planning to go with them call ahead to make sure the shop can accommodate your loved one’s needs. You may need to go to a specialty shop if they are wearing a prosthesis. 

3. A makeover

Pamper your loved one by giving them a gift certificate for a makeover. Your friend or family member may have a new lease on life. Help give them a fresh look to go with their new attitude! And don’t forget, a makeover includes lots of things. New makeup or a trip to the salon are wonderful gifts for someone in remission.

4. House cleaning service

Scrubbing the shower and disinfecting the fridge were probably not high priority during your loved one’s illness. Even though they have the “all clear,” they may not have the energy to tackle cleaning projects. They would likely appreciate a one-time deep clean from professional cleaners. 

5. Survivor jewelry

It is so important to maintain hope while undergoing cancer treatments. Your loved one may be eager to share their stories of survival with people who are currently struggling. Special jewelry or clothing items can identify them as a survivor. They can be recognized as a resource for others dealing with their cancer diagnosis.

Gift Ideas for a Prostate Cancer Survivor 

Prostate cancer survivors may be slow to recover from cancer treatments. Even if your loved one’s cancer is in remission, it may take time before they get back all their strength. Here are some gift ideas to assist your loved one while at the same time celebrating their remission. 

6. Gym membership

One of the best ways to build up strength is to test your endurance every day. Encourage your loved one to build up their stamina by purchasing them a gym membership. Go to the gym with them for a bit of extra encouragement.

Before purchasing this gift make sure your loved one has permission from their doctor to exercise. 

7. Restaurant gift cards

Even though your loved one has been given the all-clear from their doctor, they may not be back to normal. They may be more tired than usual. Especially if they have returned to work and increased their responsibilities at home. If your loved one is the chef of the family, consider providing meals for the family.

A gift card to their favorite restaurant would be an appreciated gift. If you’d rather cook for them consider dropping off a prepared meal once a week until your friend has transitioned back into daily life. 

8. Work-out clothes

Your loved one’s body probably changed as a result of undergoing cancer treatment. Purchasing workout clothes can encourage them to get back into shape.

Since many cancer survivors lose a lot of weight during their treatment work-out clothes are a good option. Because they are made of stretchy materials, they are more forgiving during weight fluctuation. 

9. Night out

Your friend might be tired of seeing the inside of doctors’ offices and waiting rooms. And they are likely sick of staring at the walls of their bedroom. Take your friend out for a night on the town to give them a change of scenery. 

10. Participate in ZERO Prostate Cancer

Most cities have a race each year to raise money to fight prostate cancer. One such event, ZERO Prostate Cancer, may happen in a town near you this year. Walk or run on behalf of your friend.

You could even form a team and ask your friend to participate as well.

Gift Ideas for Someone Celebrating 1 Year Cancer-Free

Your friend’s doctor may ask them to follow-up in one year. This yearly checkup may be stressful for your friend. If you pray for people with cancer, consider adding this person to your prayer list each day. You can search online for prayers for cancer patients. 

Here are some gift ideas to let your loved one know that you are thinking of them.

11. Movie tickets

Take your friend to a movie or give them a movie theater gift card if they are worried about an upcoming appointment. Seeing a silly comedy can provide some light-hearted distraction. 

12. Board games

 Spending time with your loved one is one of the best gifts you can give. Especially if they are worried about an upcoming appointment. You don’t need to plan anything big. You could buy a new game to occupy their time or play an old favorite, like Monopoly or UNO

13. Spa gift certificate

Show your loved ones that they deserve a bit of pampering by getting them a gift certificate to a local spa. Better yet, go on the spa day with them. Enjoy a facial and a message. Drink cucumber water as you spend the day in a plush robe. 

14. Journal

Your loved one has undergone a lot within the last year. They are probably reeling with thoughts and emotions that need sorting out.

A customized journal they can use to write down their feelings is a considerate gift. If your loved one is not a writer there are journals with prompts to help get them started. 

15. A bucket-list item

After a year, your loved one may be feeling back to normal. They may be ready to go on a trip or attend a concert. Encourage them to check the items off their bucket list by going with them. 

Gift Ideas for Someone Celebrating 5 Years Cancer-Free

Five years of being cancer-free is undoubtedly worth celebrating. Make sure you commemorate this event for your loved one, even if it’s only with a small token. Here are some gift ideas for celebrating this milestone. 

16. A letter

Why do we wait for people to die before we celebrate their lives? Writing a letter to a living person telling them how awesome they are is much better than sharing it in a sympathy message they’ll never read. Wouldn’t you rather write “well wishes” instead of condolences?

Write a card or letter to your friend or family member telling them what they mean to you. List their wonderful qualities and tell them why they are important to you. 

17. A party

Life is short. We need to celebrate every chance we get! Use this milestone as an excuse to pick up some decorations and have a massive party with lots of food, beer, and good friends. 

18. An ornament

Even the smallest of tokens will be appreciated when commemorating the fifth anniversary of a loved one’s remission. A Christmas tree ornament would be a beautiful way to celebrate this anniversary. 

If you can’t find an appropriate ornament, buy a spool of thick ribbon the appropriate color for your loved one’s cancer. Make a simple loop to hang on the tree.

You can also consider ordering a customized ornament or purchasing glass ornaments and decorating them yourself.

19. Flowers 

Don’t wait for your loved one’s funeral to buy flowers. Show that you remembered this important anniversary by giving them a beautiful bouquet.  

20. Plant a tree

Celebrate your loved one by planting a tree to commemorate their five years of remission. You can choose from a variety of saplings on Amazon. If you don’t have a spot to plant a tree, contact your local park department.

Many cities have tree-planting programs that you can participate in. Some park departments allow you to add a plaque to an already mature tree in honor of someone. This gift is especially lovely as it will remain for many years.  

Gift Basket Ideas for a Loved One Who’s Cancer-Free

Instead of purchasing a single gift for cancer survivors, consider creating a themed gift basket to celebrate their good news. While you could definitely fill a container with items that celebrate cancer survival, such as t-shirts, stickers, mugs, and jewelry, they might feel the need to move past that. What did they enjoy pre-diagnosis?

21. Golf basket

Perhaps your friend is ready to return to the links. If so, they’ll appreciate a pair of golf gloves, tees, balls, a visor, and a gift certificate to the best course in the area. If you are also a golfer, take the day off work and join them! 

22. Sports fan basket

Is your friend a fanatic about a specific team? Then, feed into their frenzy by buying sports apparel, autographed photos, memorabilia, wall hangings, hats, and anything else with the team logo. You may also consider purchasing team apparel designed to encourage those fighting cancer. For example, you should be able to find breast cancer jerseys or awareness T-shirts for each NFL team. 

23. Cooking basket

Your friend may be excited to return to the kitchen after months of nausea caused by treatment. Purchase gourmet olive oils or vinegars, fun spice blends, sauces, and the newest kitchen gadget. Don’t forget to throw in a fun dish towel or two! You might also consider including your favorite recipes.

24. Travel basket

Is your friend excited to hit the road now that they don’t have to worry about doctors’ appointments? Buy a backpack and fill it with travel-sized toiletries, a neck pillow, sunglasses, hats, and other items to make traveling more comfortable. You may also want to include gift cards for restaurants or hotel chains. 

25. Home comfort basket

Purchase those home-comfort items that everyone loves, such as luxury candles, beautiful books, decorative vases, plants, or holiday items. 

26. Healthy living basket

Now that cancer is behind them, your friend or loved one may never take their health for granted again. Purchase water bottles, gym memberships, running shoes, healthy cookbooks, and vitamins for someone ready to hit the ground running – as soon as the doctor approves it. 

27. Reflection basket

A person may learn a lot about themselves and life in general when faced with a life-threatening disease. Encourage them to put their thoughts into words by gifting them with a beautiful journal, quote books, and a sketch pad. You might also search for books with writing prompts. 

Jewelry or Wearable Gifts for a Loved One Who’s Cancer-Free

We flock around those who are newly diagnosed and offer support, encouragement, and gifts. But why shouldn’t we also celebrate with those who have received good health news or a clean bill of health? 

Here are some wearable gifts to give to someone who is newly cancer-free.

28. Tattoo

Some cancer survivors are left with visible scars from their surgeries or treatments. While many view these scars as badges of honor, some wish to conceal them. Search online for tattoos that cover scars. Some tattoos incorporate the raised flesh in the design. However, others may highlight the scar and celebrate strength and survival. 

Look at the tattoo artist’s portfolio to see if they’ve worked with scars in previous jobs.

29. Personalized shirts

Sometimes the families of survivors (and the survivor themselves) participate in events that raise funds for cancer charities. Create personalized T-shirts that celebrate your friend’s survival from the dreaded disease to wear to the event. 

30. Clothing in ribbon colors

Your friend’s closet may be full of survivor and “fighter” shirts. Perhaps, instead of buying another shirt that screams “cancer,” buy a beautiful cashmere sweater or comfy sweatshirt in the appropriate cancer-ribbon color. This subtle tribute to your friend or family member’s fight may be appreciated.

31. Charm bracelet or necklace

The fact that your friend or family member is a cancer survivor is just one facet of the person. They may be a cancer survivor and a mother of a child with autism. They may be a cancer survivor and marathon runner. They may be a cancer survivor and farmer. 

Purchase a charm bracelet or necklace that includes several different symbols that make that person unique and special – including a pink cancer ribbon.

32. Survival pendant

Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be a universal symbol that indicates someone is a cancer survivor. However, jewelry designers have created such pieces for those ready to celebrate those given a clean bill of health. 

Search online for survival pendants, such as this one shaped like a bell or this one that is described as a rising phoenix

You may also wish to create your own symbol. For example, maybe your friend said they would travel to Paris as soon as they were given the all-clear. That person’s cancer survival symbol might be the Eiffel Tower. Maybe your friend promised to run a full marathon within a few years of finishing treatment. Their symbol might be a running shoe. 

Gifts for a Child Who’s Newly Cancer-Free

The best gift for a child who is newly cancer-free is the return (or entrance) into “normal life.” So instead of survival T-shirts or trips to Disney World, here are some presents for a kid who has the beautiful distinction of being a childhood cancer survivor.

33. Water guns

Invite the whole family or support community over for a water gun fight. Arm everyone with water guns, hose attachments, or water balloons. Have an old-fashioned water fight to celebrate life. 

34. Legos

Because . . . who doesn’t love Legos? 

35. Gift certificates to an indoor trampoline park

If the child has been given the all-clear from the doctor, they may love experiencing places that were previously off-limits to a child immunocompromised. Buy tickets to the local indoor trampoline park, children’s play area, or movie theater. If the family isn’t ready for indoor play because of the recent pandemic, purchase tickets to the zoo. 

36. Kites

Don’t overlook those beautiful, simple gifts that bring joy, such as bouncy balls, kites, slime, bubbles, or sidewalk chalk. 

37. Books

Previously, you may have purchased books that tried to explain terms like “cancer,” “disease,” and “chemotherapy.” Now, you have the opportunity to buy books on light-hearted and silly subjects. See what’s popular at the bookstore, but don’t forget to consider the classics. 

Another reason that books might be a good choice for a gift is that the child may have gotten behind in their learning while undergoing surgeries and treatments. 

38. Bedroom makeover

Your child may associate illness and poor health with their current bedroom design. If the child is ready for something new, update the furniture or linens in the child’s bedroom. It might be time to get rid of that Noah’s Ark-themed wallpaper anyway.

39. Balls

This child has probably received a ton of stuffed animals, coloring books, and other toys that they could use in a doctor’s waiting room. A child who is a cancer survivor may be hesitant to participate in outdoor play at first – especially if they aren’t used to it. However, you might want to give them the tools they need to play outside, such as balls and jump ropes.

40. Tickets to an event

Purchase tickets to Disney on Ice, child-friendly concerts, or sporting events for a cancer survivor. The combination of cancer and the recent pandemic probably made it difficult for immunocompromised children to get out in public, so they might relish the idea of a fun event. 

Gifts for a Partner or Spouse Who’s Newly Cancer-Free

Being the caregiver for a partner or spouse who is sick is difficult. Even though you didn’t undergo treatment, you may feel exhausted and need some TLC too. If your partner recently received good news that the cancer is gone, you might want to celebrate with a gift. Here are some ideas.

41. A gourmet meal

Have a delicious meal by candlelight at your favorite restaurant. Create an intimate setting just like when you were dating to rekindle the romance.

42. New clothes

If you are able, take your partner or spouse on a shopping spree so they can buy new clothes. People often lose (or gain) weight after going through cancer treatment, so it might be necessary to update their wardrobe.

43. A trip

You might feel that it is time to check items off your loved one’s bucket list. Schedule a dream vacation for yourself and the survivor.

44. Memory book

You may not want to admit it, but you may have been frightened during your loved one’s recent bout with cancer. While you may not have wanted to draw attention to it when your spouse was undergoing treatment, you may have worried about what life would feel like without your loved one by your side.

Now that you are on the other side of treatment, you might want to encourage your spouse to fill out a memory book to give to your children or grandchildren. Memory books typically include writing prompts, such as “Describe a typical day from your childhood” or “Tell the story of how you met your spouse.”

45. Skydiving

Listen to Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” if you don’t understand why we would recommend that you take your loved one skydiving. The lyrics to this song also recommend “Rocky Mountain climbing” and going “2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.” 

46. Party

You may have received a lot of support from family and community members during your spouse’s health crisis. Thank the people who helped by planning a “we kicked cancer’s butt” party. 

47. Family portraits

Some people resist taking family portraits because they wish to “lose a few more pounds” before scheduling. However, a health crisis may make you realize that it’s better to have family pictures – no matter if you need a haircut or to lose a few pounds.

Show Your Loved One That You're Proud

One of the best gifts you can give a cancer survivor is to remain friends with them. People fighting cancer often drop out of society for a while during their treatment. Visit, text, call and let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them even if you don’t see them daily. 

Fighting cancer can be a lonely experience. Spend time with your struggling loved ones to show them you care. 

If you're looking for more ways to support someone diagnosed with cancer, check out our picks for the best chemo care packages and gifts for terminal cancer patients,

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