Gift Ideas for a Patient Undergoing Chemotherapy

“What can I do to help?” Cancer caregivers - family and friends of cancer patients - want to provide meaningful support but oftentimes are at a loss for what to say or do. In fact, there are a lot of different things you can do to help your loved one through chemotherapy (“chemo”) and other treatments like radiation. For instance, greeting cards and flowers can be a great way to help brighten a patient’s day. However, many people have asked us “how can I do more?” We like the idea of putting together a homemade personalized ‘chemo care package’ to show your thinking of him or her.  

Chemo care packages are packages that contain different items – both for comfort and entertainment – that your loved one might need and want during their treatments.

We have collected a list of items to include in your chemo care package that could help a patient before, during and after treatment based on the unexpected side effects from the treatment that we have seen with our friends and family. Because different people react differently to treatments, we have tried to provide an extensive list of options.

Personal Comfort Items to Include:

  1. Warm and Comfy Clothing

Hospitals can often be very cold and chemotherapy can increase one’s sensitivity to extreme temperatures because of a number of side effects including neuropathy – a type of nerve damage, weight loss and low blood platelets. Below are a few items to include to help your loved one stay comfortable and warm.

Headwear (such as Scarves and Hats)
Different types of headwear like colorful scarves and soft and stylish hats can be a great way to stay warm and feel good! Also, these items can help protect patients from exposure to the sun during treatments that may leave them extra vulnerable to ultraviolet damage. 

Infusion Accessible Clothing

Clothing that provides quick, yet discreet, access to your chest during treatment make infusion sessions easier whether you have a central line or a port. We offer a collection of comfy shirts that do just that. Check out our new chest access sweatshirts that will keep you comfy and warm during treatment! 

Care+Wear Dual Chest Port Access Shirt for WomenCare+Wear Dual Chest Port Access Shirt for Men

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Soft and Warm Blankets
Another great option for your loved one to stay warm during treatment and at home is by making or buying a soft blanket.

Warm Socks or Slippers
A third way to combat the cold is a good pair of warm socks or slippers that are cozy and perfect for lounging or treatment rooms. We recommendDr.Scholl’s Spa Socks, which are soft and odor-free socks with a non-binding comfort top that won’t restrict blood circulation. It’s important that nothing is too snug. Slippers are also a great option for trips to the bathroom and for walking around the room. 

  1. Icy Cool Towel

Because of the increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures and frequent fluctuations in body temperature, heat can trigger or worsen hot flashes and increase sweating. Hence, it is great to to have an icy cool towel that stays cool for up to four hours to help relieve the heat.

  1. Gentle Skin Moisturizers and Soaps

Dry and sensitive skin is a common side effect of both chemotherapy and radiation treatments both during treatment and after they are complete. Because of this it is important for patients to use gentle products that will help prevent irritations and rashes. We recommend including various types of gentle moisturizers especially ointments or creams rather than lotions because the thicker consistency tends to be better at preventing skin dehydration. It is also recommended to look for hypoallergenic products that don’t have strong fragrances since strong smells can also be irritating.

  1. Lip Balm

Similar to the skin, lips can become very dry so it is important to have a richly hydrating lip balm. Many dermatologists recommend using lip balms, with ingredients such as shea butter, petrolatum, or glycerin. 

  1. BPA-Free Travel Water Bottle

In addition to keeping your skin hydrated it is equally as important to remain hydrated throughout the treatment period. Because cancer treatments like chemotherapy can induce nausea and vomiting it can be hard to stay hydrated. Including a travel water bottle so your loved one has something to sip on throughout the day can help control dehydration.

  1. Caffeine-Free Tea (like Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginger and Lemon Tea)

An upset stomach can be an unfortunate side effect of chemotherapy. Ginger and lemon teas can be helpful to soothe upset stomachs and help manage treatment-induced nausea. Also, we recommend making sure the tea is caffeine-free like mint and chamomile flavors to prevent any major distractions in one’s sleep cycle. Some doctors even recommend limiting the amount of green or white tea because, while they are packed with antioxidant photochemical, the antioxidants might interfere with the desired effects of chemotherapy.

  1. Mouth Aids

Patients undergoing chemotherapy frequently complain about a “metal mouth,” or a metallic and dry mouth after treatment. Eating citrus candies and fruits are a popular way of counteracting this common side effect. You can also try Ginger Chews that can help with both “metal mouth” and nausea. For those with painful mouth sores or ulcers that usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after some types of chemo begin, it is recommended to use over-the-counter toothpaste (avoid whitening toothpaste that may contain hydrogen peroxide), oral rinses and gels made fromBiotene, which may help alleviate the discomfort. 

  1. Eye Mask, Ear Plugs, and Neck Pillow

Often chemotherapy treatments can make patients tired or sleepy leading to napping during the day and thus lead to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night. Anything that can make sleeping easier and more comfortable is great! An eye mask, earplugs and neck pillow will help patients fall asleep and stay asleep. 

  1. Pajamas or Comfortable Loungewear

During treatment you want to be comfortable! Drawstring sweat pants and button down shirts are ideal for access to your chest and either a short sleeve or loose sleeve that can be rolled up for access to your arm. Stay on the lookout for special products that we will be rolling out soon to help with this!

  1. Unscented Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

During treatment your immune system is lowered and patients are more susceptible to infection so having wet wipes and hand sanitizer that do not have odors can help keep the germs away, especially if you are going in and out of the hospital frequently for treatment.

  1. Salon Gift Cards

A common side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss so for patients preparing to undergo chemotherapy treatment, a hair salon gift card will help them gradually adjust to their shorter hair. For instance, frequent trims or style changes can help camouflage hair loss and ease the transition of losing hair.

  1. Silk or Fleece Pillow Case

Patients undergoing chemotherapy with newly bald scalps can be very sensitive, especially since skin is can be more sensitive in general as a side effect of chemotherapy. Hence, including soft pillow covers could help with the sensitivity while lying in bed.

  1. PICC Line Covers

A common way to receive chemotherapy is through a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). A PICC line is a semi-permanent IV that you can get to avoid having to a new IV for each treatment. In the following blog posts, you can learn more about PICCs andwhy patients get a PICC line. Care+Wear makes an ultra-soft, antimicrobial, reusable PICC line cover that patients can use to protect their PICC. On ourwebsite, you can check out our fashionable covers with a wide range of colors from Fuchsia, Mango, Marine, Lime, Black, and Slate. Not only can it help cover the PICC line while you’re not receiving treatment but the colors could help you feel more like yourself while you are undergoing treatment!

Entertainment Items:

  1.  Magazines

Often while undergoing treatment and going to and from doctors' appointments there is a lot of time to sit and wait. We recommend including a few magazines to help the time go by faster. 

  1. iTunes Gift Card

Music is always a great gift! An iTunes gift card is perfect because your loved one can pick what music he or she wants to listen to. They can also use it to buy audiobooks, ebooks, movies, and tv shows. 

  1. Streaming Video Service Subscription

Giving a subscription for a video streaming service like Netflix can also provide more entertainment during what could be a few hours of infusion during each treatment session.

  1. Sudoku Puzzle Book

Sudoku puzzles can help patients stay busy during treatment and keep their minds sharp!

  1. Journal

Including a journal to record their thoughts, or write down any questions they may have for their doctor may also be helpful. It is also great to have to keep a diet or symptom journal so you can be sure to share any concerns with your nurse or doctor.

More on Care+Wear:

Care+Wear designs innovative healthwear to create more positive and effective healing experiences for patients everywhere. Our goal is to bring innovation and design into the healthcare industry. We believe that you fully deserve a right to be seen as a person first, and as a patient second.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us herefor more information. Let’s get back to living!

14 Responses

Jen Byrne

Jen Byrne

January 10, 2020

Thank you so much for this column, while at work today, 1,236.0 km away is a friend, and someone so very dear to me, my sister, will sometime in the next ten days start chemo therapy, pending a future torso scan. I kept thinking I am so far away, how can I let her know I’m still thinking of her. The many many sites I could have clicked on, I clicked on yours, I am so thankful, I have learnt so much by just reading about ideas of building a care pack for my sister. Thank you so much!!!



June 11, 2019

Thanks so much. This article has been very helpful



March 27, 2019

thank you for sharing this. it will help to me

social sunday

social sunday

January 23, 2019

If people that write articles cared more about writing great material like you, more readers would read their content. It’s refreshing to find such original content in an otherwise copy-cat world. Thank you so much.

Susan Crumpler

Susan Crumpler

August 21, 2018

I have found tons of help putting together a care kit for my friend that is just starting her cancer treatment plan. What I haven’t found is a comfort fit for her husband. Please help if you can. Thanks!



June 11, 2019

Yes, this is great. I need a gift/care basket idea and all these items are perfect. Thank you for putting this together and like someone mentioned before, thank you for explaining why these items are needed and how they are helpful.



November 09, 2017

Thank you so much. I was at a complete loss. The items and explanation are very helpful.

Jo W

Jo W

October 22, 2017

I’ve been scouring the web for something like this – thank you for not only taking the time to put the list together but for explaining the reasons for each item too



October 05, 2017

Very informative website. Very thankful this information is out there as I had no idea what was needed. I have my list going now….



September 25, 2017

Thanks for the helpful idead

Mark cooney

Mark cooney

August 24, 2017

Thank you



March 02, 2017

Great Website! Such thoughtful small gift items would be appreciated by anyone undergoing treatment. I just started Chemo 9 days ago and would also like to add that a basket of Organic Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, some frozen nutritious dinners and a few disposable face-masks (to have on hand for visitors with the sniffles), would also be good ideas. A Pre-Chemo Party could be a lot of fun.



February 09, 2017

Love the ideas! Thank u



November 15, 2016

Very helpful information and it is very much appreciated.

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