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Thoughtful gifts for breast cancer patients

Photo Credit: Gift by asenat29 licensed under CC BY 2.0

Do you know somebody who is undergoing breast cancer treatment and would like to give them a useful gift? I’ve compiled a list of thoughtful gifts for breast cancer patients that make great presents any time of the year. Your friend or loved one will appreciate any of these items tremendously. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my co-workers gave me a basket packed with goodies I didn’t even know I would need. I used every single item, and I was so grateful they took the time to shop thoughtfully!

When selecting gifts for breast cancer patients, consider not only their personality and interests but also the treatments they are going through at the moment. This will help you offer something that matches their needs. For example, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery generate different needs. In the list below, I provide a brief description of how the patient might use each gift to help you decide if it’s a good option for the person you have in mind.

Gifts That Impart Comfort

Pink ribbon no-sew tie blanket - thoughtful gifts for breast cancer patientsWarm blanket or throw – Perfect for chemotherapy infusions which normally last hours and make you cold. My husband’s co-worker made me this pink ribbon no-sew tie blanket. It is soft and warm, and knowing that somebody made it for me makes it extra special.

Socks and cold therapy booties – Soft microfiber socks are great for staying warm during chemotherapy infusions. Soft house slippers or moccasins would also do the trick. If the patient suffers from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and they complain of achy feet that feel extremely hot, cold therapy booties can provide some relief. (Read more about chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy here.)

I used socks and booties like the ones pictured below during treatment. The NatraCure Cold Therapy Socks stay colder longer than the Herbal Concepts Booties, but both provide relief for neuropathy.

Warm hats & scarves – A must have when hair starts to thin and fall out. They can also be a nice fashion accessory if the person has chosen not to wear a wig.

Lip balm and creams for dry skin – Patients receiving chemotherapy tend to have thin, dry skin that cracks and bleeds easily. Even paper slices easily through your skin when you’re getting chemo. Radiation treatments also dry out your skin. Keeping it moisturized is important, and I learned that creams are more effective than lotions. I prefer unscented creams because they are less likely to sting if you do have cuts or chafed skin. Some of my favorite creams during treatment were Aquaphor, Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Creme, and Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream.

Ginger tea or candy, chewing gum, lemon drops & moisturizing mouth spray – Ginger aids with digestion and is helpful when your stomach feels queasy from the chemo. This was my go-to remedy during chemo weeks, and I never had to take the anti-nausea pills that my doctor prescribed. Ginger tea and candy also help soothe dry mouth, another side-effect of chemo. Other things that provide relief for dry mouth are chewing gum, lemon drops and Biotene Mouth Spray.

Gifts that Help Pass Time

If a breast cancer patient will be receiving chemotherapy or undergoing surgery, then they will need things to keep them busy during infusions or recovery periods. Here are some ideas for gifts that entertain, distract and reduce boredom:

An app store or audio book gift card

Extra batteries or chargers for cell phone, tablet, or laptop (if they own these devices) – I used my phone and laptop A LOT during the long chemotherapy treatments, during my hospital stay, and after my surgery. Being able to keep my devices charged really helped!

Movies – DVDs or a gift certificate for the movie theater make a great gift. Consider comedies instead of dramas since laughter is uplifting.

Puzzles – jigsaw, crosswords, sudoku. Puzzles are not only great to help pass time, but I believe they can help with “chemo brain.” This is a cognitive dysfunction where your ability to focus and remember things becomes impaired. As the name implies, it is a side-effect of chemo.

Books & magazines

Gifts For Relaxation

Yoga mat & DVD

Journal – Writing can be therapeutic because it provides a venue for externalizing your feelings. Keeping a journal can also help a cancer patient document their journey.

Gift certificate for a massage

Take them to a pottery or painting class – Depending on the person’s stamina, getting out of the house can be a nice distraction.

Practical gifts

Provide a service – Energy levels are low during cancer treatment, but things like house cleaning and cooking meals still need to be done. Consider providing assistance such as a month of house cleaning services, a week’s worth of meals, babysitting, or doing some yard work.

Juicer – Juicing is great when you don’t feel like eating but you still need to nourish yourself.

Organizer/planner – This is essential for tracking the many medical appointments associated with cancer treatment.

Lint rollers – When your hair starts to fall out, it does so for days. Lint rollers help remove hair from clothing and pillows.

The Most Thoughtful Gift of All

Although I received many of the wonderful gifts listed above, my favorite thing was spending time with family and friends. I also enjoyed receiving their text messages, emails and cards. I’ve kept all the written notes and messages that I received throughout my treatment, and I like that I can revisit these kind words anytime. Love and good company are hands-down the most thoughtful gifts for breast cancer patients, and they don’t cost anything but your time.

Do you have any other ideas that would make awesome gifts for breast cancer patients? Please share them in the comments section.

Until next time,

Judet

 

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