20 Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

These practical gift ideas for cancer patients will help with healing and increase energy to fight the disease. Practical gifts are thoughtful, helpful ways to support someone diagnosed with cancer – especially if he or she is getting chemotherapy for lymphoma, leukemia, sarcoma, or other types of cancer.

10 Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

The best gift ideas for cancer patients come from the patients themselves – and that’s the foundation of these practical gifts. Writer Linda Klonsky asked her friends who are getting chemotherapy treatments for healthy gift ideas – and one of the most practical gifts for cancer patients is a Alexander Del Rossa Women’s Microfiber Fleece Bathrobe.

Cancer treatments – especially chemotherapy – are often debilitating and, according to some cancer patients, as difficult as having the disease itself. So many people are affected by a cancer diagnosis and treatment – and there are many simple, low-cost practical gifts that are readily available and easily given. It won’t take much time for you to run to your local drug store, or shop online on Amazon, and buy practical gifts for cancer patients that will be gratefully received and appreciated.

If you’re looking for a practical gift to help a woman heal from breast cancer surgery, read 17 Gift Ideas for Women After Mastectomy Surgery.

Practical Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients

by Linda Klonsky

The phrase “going through chemo” should be replaced with “getting better despite chemotherapy,” at least according to my friend Chris who has lived through not one, but two bouts of Stage Four male breast cancer!  Years ago, the word “cancer” was whispered about (like you could contract it from the air). Nowadays, however, cancer touches so many people that it’s become part of weekly conversation – at least amongst my social circle in which at least seven people have battled some form of cancer.

Indeed, with cancer seeming so common these days, it’s no wonder that those of us who know someone with the disease are thinking, “what practical gift can you give a person who is getting chemotherapy?” How do you support someone who has recently been diagnosed with cancer? I recently asked Chris and other friends who are or have been cancer patients to share what gifts were most practical and helpful while getting chemotherapy treatments.  Here’s what they suggest…

A Kindle or E-Reader to Help Pass the Time

Kindle Gifts for Cancer Patients

Kindle Gift for Patients

No energy means lots of down time, plus cancer patients they spend a good amount of time waiting in the hospital for chemo treatments. A practical gift is a Kindle Voyage With High-Resolution Display, Nook, e-reader or tablet that can be easily disinfected before and after treatment. This is not just a practical gift for cancer patients – it’s also one they can use for entertainment and distraction for their family, too.

Paid Subscriptions for Cancer Patients

A paid subscription to Netflix, Hulu, etc. would be appreciated.  As Chris says, “When you’re healing from chemo treatments, your television becomes your best friend.” One of the most practical gifts for people with cancer is something that distracts them from the slow passage of time when you’re healing from chemo treatments.

Disposable Straws to Help Cancer Patients Heal

All the cancer patients I spoke to stressed how important this mundane item is to chemotherapy patients.  Disposable straws are essential for lying in bed and drinking water, juice, tea, ginger ale, and Gatorade.

“Disposable coffee cups, like Starbucks, are okay,” says Mark, who is fighting testicular cancer.  “But tons of straws are must-haves!”

If your cancer patient is healing from treatments or health issues related to his or her back or legs, read 10 Gift Ideas for Back Surgery Recovery.

Inspirational Accessories for Women With Cancer

For women, accessories like earrings, bracelets, scarves, hats, makeup, etc. are welcome. According to breast cancer patient Maria, accessories have been essential. These aren’t the most practical gifts for cancer patients – but “Having cancer robs you of so much of your self-esteem,” says Maria.

The Sterling Silver and 14k Rose Gold Diamond Double-Heart Pendant Necklace may not be the most practical gift for a cancer patient, but it is a reminder that she is loved. A lovely accessory like this can remind a patient she’s not alone, and that your heart is with her.

Homemade Gift Cards for Household Services

Being sapped of energy makes things like going grocery shopping hard.  Gift cards to grocery stores that deliver (such as Peapod), housekeeping services, or a taxi service for getting to/from chemotherapy treatment appointments are practical healing gifts for cancer patients – as well as very thoughtful ones.

Print Media for Cancer Patients

Simple things that cancer patients can easily carry around when waiting at doctor’s offices or in hospital waiting rooms are magazines, novels, puzzle books, crossword puzzles, Suduko, etc.

Gift cards from Amazon are also thoughtful practical gifts for cancer patients, because they offer the freedom to purchase whatever is needed.

Soft Clothes to Keep Cancer Patients Warm

A practical gift for a cancer patient is the most velvety pajamas or robe you can find!  As Mark says, “You get tired of being in the same robe every day.”

Similarly, a soft blanket such as the Super Soft Warm Polar Faux Fur Throw Blanket is a practical gift that will keep a cancer patient nice and toasty. If you knit or crochet, a homemade blanket or afghan would be a thoughtful gift.

Fuzzy Socks With Grippy Feet

practical gifts cancer patients

Loki Slippers

Cancer patients can never have enough slippers or warm socks with feet that don’t slide on slippery hospital floors. A pair of Soft Knit Gripper Slippers (not pictured — the slippers in the picture aren’t grippy socks, but they are a great gift for patients!) is a practical gift idea for cancer patients that has received hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.

And don’t forget hoodies!  Soft, zippered hoodies are appreciated by both men and women for when their bodies fluctuate in temperature.

Water and Green Tea Are Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

A healthy gift that would be appreciated by most cancer patients is a case or two of bottled water, as would Gatorade. A healthy drink is a good alternative for when a patient gets sick of water.

The Numi Organic Tea With Natural Ingredients Gift Set is a practical gift for people who can’t stomach Gatorade or similar drinks.

“Cancer patients get so sick of water,” said Chris. Soups and teas are also gentle on the tummy and a good source of liquid, and thus a practical gift idea for after chemotherapy treatments.

Personal Care and Practical Germ-Fighting Gifts to Protect Cancer Patients

Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

10 Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

When your immune system is compromised, germs can be deadly.  Large bottles of hand sanitizer (for when visitors come to call) and an air purifier are essential for someone who is receiving chemotherapy. So is Lysol or another low-odor sanitizing wipe, for wiping down surfaces someone else has used (such as in the bathroom).

The Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer, Fragrance Free is an example of a practical gift idea for someone with cancer that is so helpful, but you wouldn’t think of giving them.

Relief for Dry Mouths and Skin

Chemotherapy makes your mouth and skin excruciatingly dry, so Biotene Dry Mouth products such as toothpastes, mouth gels, and mouthwashes are thoughtful, practical gifts for people with cancer. Biotene Oral Balance Dry Mouth Relief Moisturizing Gel, Long Lasting Saliva Substitute helps soothe and protect dry mouths against discomfort.

Dove Moisturizing Body Wash in particular is a good gift for cancer patients – Chris told me that this product has “very little smell” and is “the creamiest body wash for the shower.” Eucerin Skin Cream for dry skin is another healthy gift that would be appreciated.

Miscellaneous Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

cancer patients Practical Gift Ideas

Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

All the patients stressed the need for bags for their bedside and car which contain:

“Depending on the type of cancer, different parts of your body get sore,” says Maria. “Small pillows are easier to put in just the right spot.  Pretty, fancy ones also cheered me up.” If you don’t know what type of cancer your patient is fighting, you might ask their family members for practical gifts and ideas that would be needed and appreciated.

Practical Gifts for Cancer Patients

Linda Klonsky

Sleep can be difficult for many cancer patients — read 10 Gifts for Insomniacs and People Who Can’t Sleep for ideas for a good night’s rest.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas on what practical gifts to give a cancer patient? Please comment below – we’d love to add more gifts to this list!

Linda Klonsky is a former Marketing Manager and now the married mother of two kids and a Freelance Writer. Her blog “Is It Hot In Here?” Menopause, Motherhood & More focuses on lifestyle hacks/tips plus product reviews to make life easier. She is also the Content Manager at The Geek Parent and regular contributor to JerseyMomBlog.  Her life blood is coffee. 

For more information on how you can help a cancer patient, visit the American Cancer Society

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