Finding out that someone you care for has cancer can be devastating. You immediately want to know how you can help and what you can do to support them. Giving your loved one a gift can show them that they are loved and surrounded in this difficult time.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Gifts for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemo or Radiation
- Comforting or Inspirational Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients
Check out this list of 20 thoughtful gift ideas to get inspired. Our first list of ten is particularly considerate if your loved one is undergoing treatment. Our second list of ten is chock full of comfort and inspiration. We’ve included physical gifts, experiences, and little things to show you care. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or any other loved one, these gifts are sure to bring a smile when they need it most.
Gifts for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemo or Radiation
Going through treatment for cancer can be physically, emotionally, and mentally grueling. Think about gifts that soothe, comfort, and distract. Here are ten ideas for your loved one while they are undergoing chemo or radiation:
1. Massage at home
Going through cancer treatments can be physically and emotionally taxing. Send a masseuse for some feel-good self-care so they don’t have to travel or even get dressed. You can also consider gifting them an electric massager to provide some relaxation whenever they need it.
If massage isn’t really your loved one’s thing, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, and aromatherapy are great alternatives for healing.
2. Movie and TV show streaming service
Your loved one will likely have some idle time on their hands. Gift them a streaming subscription to something like Amazon Prime Video so that they can watch endless hours of movies and TV shows they love.
Make this gift really special by preloading a playlist full of movies and shows you know they’ll love.
If they don’t already have a tablet, this is an excellent gift for someone going through treatment. They can watch movies and TV shows, play games, check their email, and surf the web and social media.
A tablet is a great option because it can be used while lying in bed at home, traveling in the car, when they’re at the doctor, or if they have to spend time in the hospital.
4. Oil diffuser
An oil diffuser is a wonderful and thoughtful gift for a loved one fighting cancer. Essential oils have many healing properties, and some can be very helpful for nausea and headaches.
Plus, they’re allowed in most hospitals and can mask some of the more unpleasant smells.
5. Chemo care package
Create a basket yourself or buy one of many pre-made care packages. These often include products that soothe nausea, promote self-care, and provide comfort for people undergoing chemo or radiation.
Think about things that your loved one would enjoy but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.
While they are going through treatment, offer to spend time at their home taking care of things. Do laundry, clean, or take the kids for a day.
Cook dinner, set the table, and do the dishes. Giving your loved one the freedom and peace to rest without any interruptions or stress is an enormous gift.
7. Hats and scarves
People going through treatment sometimes lose their hair. Some choose to wear wigs, but others find it more comfortable to wear hats and scarves. Look for beautiful hats and silky scarves that fit your loved one’s style.
Maybe even buy a matching one for yourself so you and your loved one can be twinning!
8. Shave your head
Talk to your loved one about it first to make sure they’re on board. Shaving your head is a major symbol of love, solidarity, and camaraderie. Show your loved one that you’re in this together and rock a pretty sweet new hairstyle.
9. Homemade food
Cooking may be the last thing on your loved one’s mind while they are going through treatment. They may feel tired and nauseous and not be up for it. Their family members may be too overwhelmed to provide a nourishing meal.
Drop off something they can easily throw in the freezer and heat up. Organize a meal train, so family and friends can sign up to provide meals every day.
10. Travel blanket, pillow, eye mask, and cozy socks
Your loved one may be spending lots of time in the hospital while they are undergoing treatment. Give the gift of comfort and self-care. There is something very soothing about having your own comfortable blanket and pillow.
Share your final wishes, just in case.
Create a free Cake end-of-life planning profile and instantly share your health, legal, funeral, and legacy decisions with a loved one.
Comforting or Inspirational Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients
Battling cancer is likely the most difficult experience your loved one has ever gone through. Giving them a soothing and inspirational gift can help them through it. Here are ten ideas:
11. A beautiful quote
Give your loved one a personalized mug, plaque, blanket, or any other item with a beautiful quote or poem. If they are religious, a prayer for cancer patients could be really meaningful. If not, an inspirational or funny quote would be a great choice.
12. Inspirational jewelry
If your loved one prefers dainty jewelry, you can find bracelets, necklaces, and even earrings with inspirational sayings and words engraved, like this piece from Amazon. Love, strength, and faith are popular options. For a bolder accessory, you can have a watch or leather bracelet engraved. A personal message also goes a long way.
13. Children’s book
If your loved one has children in their life, talking about and explaining cancer can be extremely difficult. There are children’s books that explain illness, recovery, and grief. Gift one to help children begin to understand what their loved one is experiencing.
14. Throw a party
Check to make sure your loved one is up for it — this isn’t the right time for a surprise party. Pick up some decorations and throw a party celebrating them and the contributions they’ve made to the people in their life.
A “word bath” is a wonderful activity for this type of party. Have everyone go around and share a word (or several!) that come to mind when they think of the person. “Bathe” them in these words, and let them bask in your love and gratitude for them.
15. Photo book
When people face difficult illnesses, they often find themselves being more reflective and cherishing memories. Create a beautiful photo book for your loved one to help them reminisce.
A digital picture frame is also a wonderful option. Some even have a feature where you can email a picture directly to the frame to be displayed immediately.
16. Create a podcast playlist
What kind of podcasts would get your loved one through a tough time? You know them best. Your playlist can feature comedy, true crime, or maybe educational programs are more their style. Feel free to mix it up.
Be thoughtful and spend some time on this. That way, they’ll have plenty of content to get them through and will feel loved and taken care of.
17. Weekly flower arrangement
Flowers are simple and can brighten up someone’s home or hospital room. They also often smell fresh and delicious. If your loved one is getting regular visitors, this is a nice way to make their space more cheerful, so that they don’t have another thing to worry about.
Another good option is succulents. Succulents are easy-care plants and last a long time — even years. Succulents come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes. This can be a great option if it makes your loved one sad to see flowers wilt.
18. Snail mail
There’s nothing quite like opening a handwritten letter you receive in the mail. This is a thoughtful, budget-friendly option that is sure to bring smiles.
If you have children, have them draw or paint a picture to include along with a get well card. If you do want to give a practical gift along with the letter, throw in a gift card to their favorite restaurant (bonus points if they deliver) or a favorite place to shop.
19. Book subscription
Books can be magical for someone going through a difficult time. Give the gift of fantasy, romance, humor, drama, and getting lost for hours in a good story. A subscription to Kindle Unlimited will allow them free access to many different titles to choose from.
20. Regular visits
Perhaps the most important gift you can give someone is your time and attention. Chat, play games, and if they are up for it, share some food and laughter. It is easy to hang out with people when everything is good and nothing is wrong. Make your loved one feel special and cared for during this tough time in their life.
Sometimes, all people need is someone to listen. Don’t try to fix or reassure. A loving, empathetic ear can make all the difference. Understand that they may need some alone time for rest and healing. Honor their wishes, look for hints that it’s time to go, and don’t take it personally.
Love is the Best Gift of All
There are so many thoughtful options of gifts for loved ones fighting cancer. What matters most is that you’ve given the gift with love. Remember that love and laughter is powerful medicine.