These gift ideas after a single or double mastectomy will help breast cancer patients heal. The gift tips are based on an oncologist’s instructions for post-mastectomy healing.
A Double Mastectomy Gift Bag® is one of the most popular gifts for mastectomy patients, and is actually a “breast cancer recovery bag.” It’s a great gift for after mastectomy surgery. It includes pillows, toiletries, amusements, and other things women need to heal after surgery. This gift includes things you wouldn’t think of – that mastectomy patients need – such as drain care supplies.
A “Doctors Orders” Get Well Soon Care Package and Gift Basket from Amazon might be a more appropriate gift after mastectomy surgery than a Mastectomy Gift Bag, depending on how well you know your patient. The Get Well Soon Gift Basket is lovely, but not as practical as the Mastectomy Gift Bag for patients.
Below are several more gifts for after a mastectomy, plus a quick list of six gifts for women after breast cancer surgery. Every gift in this list is based on a tip for healing from a surgeon. Remember that you’re not giving gifts for no reason – you’re giving hope and showing how much you care by helping her heal after a mastectomy. It’s a traumatic to have breast cancer surgery and it takes a long time to recover – but you can be part of the healing process.
Gifts for Mastectomy Patients After Breast Cancer Surgery
The following tips for healing after mastectomy surgery (post-operative recovery) are from the University of California San Francisco’s Mastectomy: Instructions After Surgery. Each tip is connected to a gift idea, to help mastectomy patients heal from a single or double mastectomy.
Dry shampoo and pampering items
Since mastectomy patients aren’t able to shower until after the drain is out, she’ll need something to keep her feeling fresh and clean. Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is very popular, and will help her feel like a beautiful woman again. A more elaborate and thoughtful gift for her after mastectomy surgery is an Art of Appreciation Spa Gift Basket for Renewal and Refreshment. The basket will last long after her healing, and will be a continual reminder that you’re thinking about her as she heals from mastectomy surgery.
Delicious high-fiber foods
Since narcotics for pain management after mastectomy surgery can cause or worsen constipation, patients are encouraged to increase her fluid intake and eat high fiber foods such as prunes and bran. A local bakery may have a good assortment of high-fiber fruit and bran muffins (though they are often very high in fat). A healthy gift basket – such as a Art of Appreciation Healthy Gourmet Food Gift Basket – is a wonderful mastectomy gift for women post-surgery.
Plush blankets and pillows
After mastectomy surgery, oncologists recommend icepacks to decrease discomfort and swelling – particularly to the armpit after a lymph node dissection. A small pillow for her neck or armpit area may decrease discomfort and help her heal. This gift idea for mastectomy patients can also be re-used after the mastectomy surgery. Since bruising and some swelling is common in women after mastectomy surgery, a wonderful gift idea for her is a Super Soft Black Borrego Plush Throw Blanket – perhaps with a soft plush pillow. She’s healing from a traumatic surgery, and needs all the comfort and pampering she can get.
Throat lozenges and magazines
Mastectomy patients have tubes down their throats during the mastectomy surgery. This often causes a sore throat for a few days after surgery, so she’ll really appreciate throat lozenges to soothe her throat and magazines to read while recovering. The Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Lozenges, Ginger with Echinacea is a practical gift idea for her after mastectomy surgery.
Give her three or four magazines about things she enjoys reading about. Personally, I would love a O, The Oprah Magazine subscription if I was recovering from breast cancer surgery! It’d be a wonderful surprise every month for a year – not just as a one-time mastectomy gift idea.
Encouragement to exercise, such as Yoga for Cancer DVDs
The post-mastectomy recovery tips include exercises that help patients regain movement and flexibility. A healthy gift idea for her is a Yoga DVD for Breast Cancer for Patients and Survivors that increases her strength and flexibility. If she had a lymph node dissection, doctors encourage NOT exercising until after her first post-operative visit. If you like the yoga DVD gift idea for after a single or double mastectomy, encourage her to listen to her surgeon’s tips for healing after the mastectomy.
Fruits and veggies
The hospital recommends that a mastectomy patient drinks eight to 10 glasses of water and non-caffeinated beverages every day. This helps clean her system after mastectomy surgery – and so do fresh fruits, vegetables, and lower fat foods. Help her recover from her surgery by giving her a Fruit, Cheese and Nuts Delight Fruit Basket.
Even if she doesn’t like to read, she may be forced to when she recovers from surgery! A Kindle eReader or Kobo is one of the best gift ideas for her after mastectomy surgery, because she won’t be able to lift her arms or hold them up for long. Splurge on the latest Kindle, and load it up with fiction and non-fiction books.
Rides to follow-up oncologist appointments
Patients have to see their surgeons for at least one follow-up appointment after a single or double mastectomy, and one of the best gift ideas for her is company. She may not be able to drive, and might really appreciate the support. You might also offer to help her keep track of her doctor’s appointments, via a shared calendar.
Hope and faith – the best gift after mastectomy surgery
A symbol of hope – such as a Sterling Silver Heart Pendant Necklace on Amazon (pictured) – is one of the most heartfelt gifts you can give a mastectomy patient. It’s a visual reminder of healing and love, and can help keep her strong.
Amazon’s Heart-Shaped Locket With a Butterfly (pictured) is another beautiful and thoughtful mastectomy gift idea for a woman with cancer, because she can put photos of loved ones inside.
The most important mastectomy gift you can give a patient is to be present and available
I think it’s difficult to know what to say when a friend, sister, wife, or coworker has mastectomy surgery. An acquaintance recently emailed me that she will undergo a double mastectomy in less than a month, and I didn’t respond until today. It took me five whole days to figure out what to say! Granted, I don’t know her well – I’ve only met her a couple dozen times through walking our dogs. But, the best gift you can give anyone is your presence.
By the way, I recently wrote Journaling Tips for Breast Cancer Survivors because of new research about how expressive writing affects the health and wellness of breast cancer survivors. A journal is a lovely gift for a mastectomy patient, if she enjoys writing. There are a couple links to pretty journals in that article.
Invitations for small walks
Today I emailed my dog walking acquaintance who will soon be undergoing double mastectomy surgery, and asked if she wanted to walk with me and my dogs. I haven’t see her for over two months because of her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. After the mastectomy surgery, she will be encouraged to get up and out of bed to take small walks. A healthy gift idea for her – or any woman healing from a mastectomy – are regular, consistent text or email invitations for short walks. Walking can be restarted right after a double or single mastectomy…and who wants to walk alone?
For more tips on supporting a patient after breast cancer and mastectomy surgery, read How to Help a Friend Whose Mom Has Cancer.
6 Quick Gift Ideas for After Mastectomy Surgery
- Books about recovering from breast cancer and/or mastectomies, such as
Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer by Melanie Young
- Mastectomy bra
- Chick flick DVDs
- House cleaning services
- Amazon.com Gift Card, with a pretty card and invitation to pamper herself any way she wants.
One last gift idea for breast cancer patients – which they may not be ready for yet. A cancer tattoo would be good for certain women, not everyone.
A cancer tattoo
Catherine Madden got a tattoo as a gift to herself after a double mastectomy…a tattoo over her missing breasts. She didn’t get the breast cancer ribbon tattoo pictured – it came from a blog called I Kicked Cancer’s Ass.
“For me it was something beautiful coming from something so ugly,” says Catherine in Cheeky Tattoo Celebrates Woman’s Breast Cancer Recovery in Britain’s News & Star. “I liked the person I was before cancer, but I love the person I have become after cancer. [A double mastectomy] really does change you, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse.”
Some mastectomy patients say tattoos are a gift that gives them a chance to reclaim their identity, to take back something cancer had taken from them. They have a chance to put their own badge on an experience they had no control over. Is a tattoo a good gift idea for a woman after a single or double mastectomy? It depends on the woman – and what her oncologist or surgeon says about the health risks of a tattoo after surgery.
A wonderful gift idea for her is to encourage her to continue the hobbies she loves. This is especially important after mastectomy surgery because it’ll make her feel good. If she likes to knit, for instance, read 8 Creative Gifts for Knitters.
If you have any thoughts on these gift ideas for mastectomy patients, please comment below.