15 Best Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients
A thoughtful gift can brighten a cancer patient’s day. During a time of emotional turmoil and uncertainty, showing you care about a friend or family member is so important. But what do you gift to someone with cancer? Here are 15 of the best gift ideas for cancer patients, as told by cancer survivors.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Updated November 14, 2022
A Thoughtful Gift Is A Positive Light in a Cancer Patient’s Life
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien –
To say that a cancer diagnosis sucks is such an understatement. But it does, indeed, suck. Big Time!
Hearing that you have cancer is life-shattering. It stops your life the second your doctor says those words. Your mind becomes a jumble of unclear emotions and thoughts. You have a million questions that need to be answered, but are too shocked to figure out which question to ask first.
I know this because I have experienced the full impact of this. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2013.
During this time of turmoil, it helps so much to be surrounded by friends and family. But sometimes it can be difficult and awkward to be around someone with cancer. It can be hard to find words to comfort them. And you may be afraid to say the wrong thing.
Many people just do not know what to say or do around those inflicted with cancer.
I would like you to know that it is okay not to do or say anything. It is okay to just be there to support the one you love dealing with cancer. Your presence is more comforting than you can ever know.
“Everyone has a gift for something, even if it is the gift of being a good friend.”
– Marian Anderson –
But, I also know that you want to do something. You feel so horrible for your friend or family member going through this. And, you want to do more that just be there.
Send A Gift to Brighten A Cancer Patient’s Day
And today, during this pandemic, even if you are allowed, it is best to not go for a visit. A phone call, video chat or a gift can be just the thing to brighten the day of someone with cancer.
Everyone loves a thoughtful gift, especially one they are not expecting.
“The best gift is one that is unexpected”
– Unknown –
What Do You Gift to Someone with Cancer?
The question of what to gift someone with cancer is asked by so many lovely people. It is a topic that circulates the caregiver chat groups often. I am asked this question, personally, by friends who just don’t know what to gift a cancer patient.
And I can definitely help with this. I have been through all different cancer treatments. I have experienced the emotions and had to process the stress. My body has endured surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and a battery of tests. I lost my hair and have many surgical scars. Waiting countless hours for treatments and appointments, I also understand the boredom of cancer.
And I have discussed this topic with many of my fellow patients and survivors. So, together with my fellow survivors’ suggestions, I have put together this list of gift ideas that we have found helpful or wish we had been gifted during our ordeal.
Any cancer patient would love these gifts.
Best Comforting Gifts for those with Cancer
Cancer is an emotional turmoil, from diagnosis and beyond. It takes a lot out of you. The stress drains your energy. So, we hold onto any ounce of comfort we can get. A gift that comforts is most welcomed.
A Cozy Blanket
I was always cold. During my chemo treatments, they pump fluids into you and give you medications that make you feel cold. I was cold waking up from my surgeries. Sometimes, at home recovering, I would have uncontrollable shivers trying to get warm.
I always had a warm blanket with me. At home or in the treatment center, my favorite blanket was like a big warm hug and gave me so much comfort. My sister made me one of my favorite blankets. Thank you Dorothy!
This blanket set on Amazon is awesome. It is soft and cuddly. It is a great idea with all the words to provide “Love”, “Healing Energy”, “Strength”, “Hope”, “Positive Thoughts”, and “Warm Hugs”. These are all things that a cancer patient wants to hear or, in this case, read.
Chanasya 5-Piece Warm Hugs Positive Energy Healing Thoughts Comfort Caring Combo Gift Set
I know that slippers are a cliché gift for the holiday season. But it is an excellent gift for a cancer patient. My feet were always cold after treatments. I actually wore out my slippers, being home all day during my treatments.
Slip-on style slippers styles are best, as many cancer patients have limited mobility, especially after surgery. I kept my slip-on slippers beside my bed. I could slide in and out of them easily. This style was sure handy to have in the hospital after my surgeries.
RockDove Women’s Original Two-Tone Memory Foam Slipper
A Worry Monster
Cancer patients are full of worry. It was so difficult to stop myself from worrying all the time. Negative thoughts swirled in my head constantly. It is so draining and exhausting.
I found meditation and exercise helped me most. But, then as I was doing some online shopping, I came across this Worry Monster. What an absolutely fantastic, whimsical and happy gift for a cancer patient.
A Worry Monster is a soft plush toy monster with a zippered pouch for a mouth. The idea is that you write down your troubling thoughts, put them in the toy’s mouth and zip it up. This helps get that swirl of confusion and fear out of your head. It is for both young and old. And it can aid in storing thoughts for a good nights sleep.
Who doesn’t need a Worry Monster? How happy & cute is this to make someone smile…
Best Practical Gifts for Those Going Through Cancer Treatments
I like giving practical gifts. A useful gift that people can use time and again are my go-to presents. But, it can be hard to find the right gift that is both practical and something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. I found some ideas that I think fit this category.
A Beautiful Journal
Journaling can be so helpful when you are dealing with cancer. I wrote about it in the article, Journaling to Overcome Emotions of Cancer. Having a nice journal to keep everything together would make a nice gift.
I just kept everything in a plain old binder. I wish I had this CanPlan Organizer, as I love organizers and the fresh pages in a new journal. This one helps you keep track of appointments, test, symptoms and questions. It has helpful suggestions, such as what to keep in your chemo bag. It also has pages for positivity to lift your spirits.
CanPlan Planner To Help Patients Fight Cancer Day by Day
A Handy Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is so important when you are going through cancer treatments. We often take drinking water for granted. But when you are nauseated from chemo or have mouth sores, drinking water can be a very difficult thing to do. A nice water bottle to encourage or remind you to drink more water is a fantastic idea for a gift.
This smart water bottle is so cool. It works with the free phone app. It will calculate out your daily requirements and keep track of how much you are drinking. When it is time to drink, it will glow to remind you to take some sips. Perfect for us forgetful and confused cancer patients. I had trouble remembering to drink enough water.
Hidrate Spark 3 Smart Water Bottle
Tracks Water Intake & Glows to Remind You to Stay Hydrated
A Practical Chemotherapy Shirt
If your loved one is going through chemotherapy and has a port in place, then a shirt that allows for easy access for treatments is a great gift. It is something I wouldn’t buy myself, but would make life so much easier as a patient.
I didn’t have a port. They put in a PICC line into my upper arm. On cold days I had to take my arm carefully out of my long sleeve shirt or just wear a t-shirt and be cold. There is enough to think about before chemotherapy treatments. What to wear should not be as big of a deal as it is.
Women’s Easy Port Access Chemo Shirt
All Natural Skin Care Products
One of my friends gifted me a basket full of all natural soaps and skin care products. It was such a wonderful gift. Thank you Julie!
My skin and lips were so dry and sore from both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. My nails were brittle too. Most of the commercial skin care products I was using were irritating and made it worse. But not the all-natural products I was gifted. They were soothing to my skin.
I found goats milk and lanolin products soothing and gentle.
Chemo Patient Care Package by 1818 Farms
Best Gifts to Add Style
Cancer treatments and surgery attempt to rob you of your dignity. Many chemotherapy protocols will cause hair loss. For women, this can be very difficult to deal with.
But having fun with style to make a bad situation better is always a good thing. A little makeup and a nice outfit can really perk you up. It is the idea behind the Look Good Feel Better Program for cancer patients. I attended one of their workshops. This is such a wonderful program.
“To me, style is all about expressing your individuality freely and courageously.”
-Timothy John –
A Gorgeous Scarf
My hair did fall out. But, one of my favorite gifts from a nurse friend of mine were two beautiful scarfs. I wore them all the time. Thank you Cynthia!
I preferred my scarfs to wigs, as they were lighter and less irritating. My wigs were so itchy. I only wore them a few times for special occasions, but I wore my scarfs most of the time.
One of my favorite things about scarfs is that you can tie them up in different ways. One scarf can seem like 5 different scarfs, depending on how you tie it. I had fun with styling my scarfs.
These headwraps are fantastic. They combine the best of both worlds; a hat and a scarf. Styling possibilities are endless with this combination. If you are tired, you can simply put on the bonnet. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can wrap the scarf in fun ways.
Elegant Chemo Cap With Silky Scarfs For Cancer
A Trendy Hat
Hats make a great gift too. While hats aren’t as versatile and fun as scarfs, they are stylish and warm. Your head is a place that you can lose a lot of heat. I would wear a soft hat on my bald head at night for a better nights sleep. And hats are a quick and easy way to leave the house.
Soft Cable Knit Beanie by C.C.
Best Gifts to Entertain Someone with Cancer
A cancer patient will spend countless hours waiting. We wait for doctor’s appointment and for treatments. Time goes so slowly when you are waiting for your chemotherapy to drip into your veins during treatments.
One problem many cancer patients experience is boredom. It must be especially hard during the pandemic, when you cannot take anyone with you to appointments.
And when you have nothing to do, your mind starts to wander. You start to worry and fret about your cancer.
I tried to meditate during some of my treatments. But you can only do so much meditation. Having something you can take with you to do is so helpful.
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer –
An Amusing Coloring Book
Adult coloring books are a wonderful idea. A fun or uplifting coloring book can help pass the time and make you feel better. And coloring is soothing and mediative. It can help calm the emotional turmoil that cancer patients experience.
And coloring books are very portable. So, they can go with you to all your appointments.
Cancer Colouring Book by Jen Meyers
Entertaining Word Puzzles
An alternative to a coloring book is a word puzzle book. Crossword puzzles and sudoku are okay, but they take brain power. Some days I didn’t feel very thinky. Word searches and easier puzzles are a great alternative.
A Word Puzzle book for those with cancer
One gift idea is to do up a pretty tote bag with a variety of word puzzle and coloring books. Throw in a blank sketch pad or beautiful notebook too. Include some coloring and sketch pencils, and perhaps a nice pen. This would make a fabulous gift for a cancer patient.
An iPad or Tablet
My husband bought me a new iPad for Christmas the year I was diagnosed. It was one of the best gifts. Thank you Dave!
You can do so much with an iPad, download games, write notes, keep a diary, or stay in touch with friends who can’t be there with you. I loved my iPad and took it with me to all my treatments.
Apple iPad Pro
Best Gifts Just Because You Care
Gifts don’t have to be practical. I think everyone loves a thoughtful or whimsical gift that doesn’t really need a reason, a “just because I thought of you” gift. Here are some other fabulous ideas for gifting a friend with cancer.
“Just like flowers need to be tended every day, people need to feel cared for at all times, or both will wilt”
– Unknown –
Healing Crystal Necklace
Whether you believe in the healing power of crystals or not, these necklaces make a nice gift. I have one of these, gifted to me by a client. Thank you Lisa!
Mine is now hanging from my car mirror. I put it there after my treatments were done to keep me safe while driving.
Natural Healing Crystals Necklace Tree of Life Wire Wrapped Stone Heart Pendant
It takes strength and courage to make it through cancer treatments. These angels will show any cancer patient that you believe in them. You can show them that they have the power to get through the tough days.
I have a few Willow Tree angels now. I love every single one of them. They remind me that I am loved by those who gifted them to me.
Willow Tree Courage Angel
A bracelet engraved with a quote of strength and hope is a fabulous gift too. Each time they put it on, they are reminded that you care. And knowing someone cares makes all the difference.
These bangles by Tony & Sandy remind me of the bracelets that Wonder Woman wore, only a little thinner and more dainty. Wonder Woman’s bracelets empower her to absorb the impact of any attack. How powerful is that image for fighting cancer!
Tony & Sandy Inspirational Bracelet
Each Bangle Back is Engraved with a Positive Quote
I hope this post helped you find the perfect gift
Were you able to find some ideas on what to gift your loved one with cancer? I am truly sorry they are going through this rotten time. And I am sorry that you too are having to deal with it alongside them.
I wish you all the very best possible outcome. Sending healing and caring thoughts your way!
“Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually because beautiful things happen in life.”
This is such a wonderful gift guide. I love giving useful and meaningful gifts to friends and these are some great ideas for friends who are battling cancer or other long term illnesses.
Such a great and thoughtful list of gift ideas!
I love this because most of the time we DON’T know what to do. I used to give my friend foot massages and she loved that, and I bought a Breast Cancer t-shirt to wear in support of her.
Those are great ideas! Thank you. I am sure your friend loved it.
I love that you made this list! I think we are always at a lost for what to do for someone fighting cancer or in the hospital for other reasons.
It is so true. It seems that those with cancer lose friends simply because they don’t know what to do or say to someone with cancer. It can be a very lonely disease. A simple gift from the heart means so much.
These are wonderful suggestions. We gifted my grandmother many of these items during her treatments.
These are such thoughtful gifts. I know someone who died from cancer, it wasn’t breast cancer, but he still suffered a lot with chemo. He always enjoyed receiving a trendy hat or chemo cap to make him stylish.
I am sorry to hear about your friend. I am glad he liked a stylish cap. Looking good makes you feel a whole lot better, I think. It sure made me feel better to get dressed up. I felt more normal. More like myself.
All the items would be wonderful gifts for cancer patients. But I like the idea of scarf and hat.
Hats and scarfs do make great gifts. I still wear them, and I have been done treatments for 6 years. I wear my scarfs more like scarfs now though.
I love these ideas! I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I will look into getting a few of these gifts for her!
I wish your friend well. I am sure she will love the gift you pick out for her.
these are thoughtful gifts, my grandmother died of cancer and these ideas are great I could have get her something also makes me miss her. thank you for this.
I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. Perhaps get yourself a gift in her memory?
Hello, thank you for writing this. I plan to send my friend a journal after reading this. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I don’t know what to do (aside from being there for her). It’s good to hear what people need and not just assume.
Journals are a great gift. There are some beautiful ones. I love the blank pages of a new journal. It puts a smile on my face. I am sure your friend will love it. You are sweet for gifting her one.
This is a really thoughtful gift guide. When one of my coworkers was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, we struggled to figure out what to get her to brighten her mood and make her more comfortable. I really appreciate how you explain why each item here is useful, as it really helped me understand why skincare, for example, would be a great gift. I’m sure there are many people who could benefit from these suggestions!
I am so glad you found it helpful. I know that a lot of people struggle with what to get. It is a long and isolating disease for cancer patients. I am glad you are finding a way to tell your coworker that you are thinking of her. It will mean a lot.
These are all great gifts for a cancer patient. I received several of these gifts during my treatment, including a lovely blanket that I’m actually using right now! One of the more thoughtful gifts I got was a “purple heart” – sewn and stuffed. She actually gave me several so I could scatter them around my house to remind me what I’d gone through. I thought it was such a sweet gesture.
I love the purple heart idea. So thoughtful.
These are such lovely ideas! My mother in law is going through treatments for uterine cancer right now and I’ve been struggling with what to put in a care package for her. Definitely going to use some of these ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!
I am sorry your mother in law is having to deal with cancer. I am glad you found these gift ideas helpful. A gift can really lift a cancer patient’s spirit.
A scarf or a hat to cover one’s head with is a lovely idea! Great list.