The most common reactions to a cancer diagnosis are confusion, disbelief, and shock. I remember feeling a mix of all three the day I got my results. Cancer is scary because there’s no telling what’ll happen next. But it’s more difficult if patients go at it alone.
There are countless ways that you can offer to help a sick friend or family member. Regardless of the gesture, what matters most is showing your loved one that you’re there for them. They don’t expect you to be around 24/7; so don’t worry, all you need is a heartfelt gift to show that you care.
Not sure what to gift ‘em? I’ll walk you through it.
Tips to Buy Gifts for A Cancer Patient
If there’s one thing my diagnosis taught me, it’s that cancer is a very personal experience. Of course, I appreciated every gift my friends and family sent my way. But some were, admittedly, more specific to my journey than others.
Everybody thinks of chemotherapy when it comes to cancer, but many cancer patients don't actually go through chemo. I was one of those who didn’t, so things like scarfs and hooped earrings weren’t appropriate since I didn’t lose my hair. Besides, I was never one to wear headpieces or flashy jewelry.
Yet if I hadn’t had firsthand experience, I probably would’ve picked out chemo gifts for all my friends with cancer. No matter how sincere, some gifts just aren’t helpful because they aren’t personalized to suit your loved one’s case. That’s why you should learn about your friend or family member's condition to give the best gift.
The best gift for a cancer patient is tailored to their situation and what they like in general -- if they like sweets, then get that box of chocolates; if they love relaxation then get them spa items; if they’re going through chemo then get them something to deal with treatment side effects.
To remove the guesswork, here’s a list of the 5 best gifts you could customize to suit your loved one’s diagnosis.
5 Best Gifts for Cancer Patients
1) Homemade Meals. Cancer alone is debilitating for patients. Add to that busy medical schedules and emotional fatigue. There were days following my diagnosis when I just wasn’t up for spending time in the kitchen. Whenever someone brought me food, I’d be grateful because the meals usually lasted till the next day.
Have you heard the saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Well, the same rule applies to many cancer patients. Treating a patient with their favorite meal could bring back happy memories and brighten their mood. You never know what challenges they might have been facing before you showed up with a casserole!
2) Hospital Tote Bag. For many of us, doctor’s visits are synonymous with road trips. Between the long commute and tedious appointments, we can’t afford to walk unprepared. Most tote bags are spacious and great for carrying personal items like a water bottle, food, symptom tracker, and medications. Personally, warm blankets were essential for comfort and coping with chills -- but they’re too bulky to fit in a purse.
A tote makes the perfect gift for a cancer patient who needs support from afar. Though you may not [always] be able to take your loved one to their appointments, they’ll still feel like you’re accompanying them just by carrying something from you.
- Best for Price: Creative Green Life offers large polyester tote bags on Amazon for under $40.
- Best for Size: This x-large Green Point Organic tote also has a durable leather base and straps.
- Best for Personalization: Bags of Love offers this Kika Leather Tote printed with a sweet photo of your choice. It’s a heartwarming way to show a patient you’re thinking of them.
- Best for Long-Distance Travel: This Béis Travel Tote is great for patients who fly over for treatment. It’s big enough to hold all emergency items yet small enough to pass as a carry-on.
3) Personalized Gift Cards. Your gift for a cancer patient doesn’t have to be physical. The truth is, acts of service go a long way for patients and their caregivers.
Annie B., who cares for her husband with Stage 4 Lymphoma, says:
“People constantly ask how they can help, and I wish I could say, come clean my house or walk my dogs or help me with all the things that are totally overwhelming. But everyone’s too far.”
Gift cards are underrated time savers, especially for those of us juggling cancer remotely.
- Best for Food Delivery: DoorDash services are incredibly convenient when malaise kicks in, and patients don’t have the energy to cook or eat out.
- Best for Nutrition: Whole Foods Market is a favorite for many because of its organic products, which are crucial for keeping our bodies nourished during treatment.
- Best for Covering Mileage: Exxon and Mobil Gas gift cards help cover fuel, car washes, and snacks to and from doctors’ visits.
- Best for All-rounded Necessities: Amazon
P.S. It’s thoughtful to use gift certificates that let patients handpick their needs. In the case of food, patients could choose meals they’re craving or can stomach at the moment.
4) Entertainment. According to the American Cancer Society, between 80 to 100% of cancer patients suffer from fatigue. Most of us aren’t able to leave the four walls of our house, but at-home entertainment keeps us motivated.
- Best for Helping a Patient Feel Less Lonely: Two-player games for social engagement.
- Best for Staying Informed: Suzanne P. says the book, Eating Well Through Cancer, helped during her parents’ journeys with breast and prostate cancer. However, you could also get them something off-topic in their favorite genre.
- Best for Lightening the Mood: Movies are great entertainment. Comedies brought my family together, and that echoed their support.
5) Self-care Products. Research shows that pampering reduces anxiety and the side effects of cancer treatment. Self-care fosters a positive outlook for patients and improves their treatment outcomes.
Doctors also recommend low-impact exercises, like walking, to strengthen patients in recovery. But simple things like artwork and sound sleep work wonders for us too!
- Best for Staying Active: Skechers Go Walk Evolution has breathable padding that supports sore feet and reduces the risk of blisters on delicate skin. A comfortable shoe helps ease survivors into a more active routine.
- Best for Managing Treatment Side Effects: Essential oils like peppermint, ginger, and chamomile are sometimes integrated into cancer regimens to relieve pain, nausea, and emotional distress.
- Best for Relaxation: Our Amidira Premium Cancer Mind Care Box combines art therapy, water therapy, aromatherapy, rest, and antioxidants, all in a small package that your dear friend can explore on their own. It also includes a handwritten note to remind recipients that you care and help their diagnosis feel a little lighter and a bit less lonely.
Why Choose Amidira to Buy Cancer Gifts?
As a breast cancer survivor, I’ve lived through the highs and lows of a heartwrenching diagnosis. More than anything, I understand how busy life gets. You won’t always be able to support your loved one in person with a meal or weekend visit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be there for them.
I founded Amidira to help you reach out to your loved one with the care they need, regardless of your location or schedule. Amidira delivers directly to every patient. We’ll even bring your gift to the hospital for patients at Mount Sinai in Toronto.
Every cancer patient needs a community -- help us join in on your friend’s journey!
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