I’ve worked in a cancer treatment center for twelve years, and we often hear family members and friends ask for Chemo Care Package ideas. Below are some items that might be enjoyable to the person in your life going through chemotherapy.
Scented Candles and Lotions: Please be cautious when choosing to buy these items. If you are buying for someone you know would love a particular scent, feel free! However, some people combat nausea depending on their medication and dosage, so strong scents may be difficult to bear. Unscented lotions, like this one, are great. Any that include sunscreen has an additional benefit.
Lip Balm: Moisturizing lip balm with SPF is an affordable, welcome gift. Even men will appreciate using something to combat dry lips, which can occur when you’re going through treatment.
Comforting Blankets and Pillows: Many chemotherapy warriors experience cold or heat sensitivity, but some do not. Most treatments require several hours spent in bed or a recliner while medication is given slowly through a port or vein. A comforting blanket or pillow to rest their heads, arms or feet on might be helpful.
Hats: Many chemo warriors lose their hair or experience temperature sensitivity. If you have a particular hat you know would be loved, go for it. However, most treatment centers have a wide variety of hats donated by local knitters or volunteer organizations so they may already have a large selection to choose from. Bandannas and pretty scarves are a nice alternative. Other comfort items may include warm socks, slippers, gloves or stuffed animals.
Chewing Gum, Hard Candies and Tea: It’s common while undergoing chemotherapy to experience a loss of taste or even “metal mouth.” Items like chewing gum, lemon candies, or ginger treats (to also combat nausea) would be a nice addition to any gift basket. If your loved one likes tea, there are great varieties available at your local grocery store that offer help with sleeplessness, nausea and comfort.
Entertainment: As mentioned above, almost all chemotherapy treatments require several hours of waiting while you receive your medications. It’s hard to stay busy and keep your mind distracted. Some items of interest may be magazines, puzzle books, novels, journals, coloring books and even streaming video service subscriptions if you know they have a tablet or other device that could support it.
One thing to remember is each person’s chemotherapy experience is as unique as the individual. The differences in the drugs used depend on the patient’s diagnosis and stage, as well as their overall health, including other medical issues they may be dealing with. Some chemotherapy treatments cause more side effects than others. Please bear in mind this list is as general as possible to try and address the majority of needs. If you’re unsure about what items may be useful to your loved one, talk to them about it. It’s always appreciated to know someone cares enough about you to ask.
Getty image by Romolo Tavani