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Chemotherapy drugs are designed to target and kill off rapidly-multiplying cancer cells, reports the Mayo Clinic. However, treatment can be difficult for patients, leaving them with pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, and more. The holidays can be a challenging time for those going through chemo, as well as their families and others close to them. If you have a loved one currently going through chemotherapy this winter season, here’s a list of both thoughtful and practical gift ideas.
A warm blanket
Not only can a cozy blanket provide added comfort during a chemotherapy treatment session, but something particularly insulating can keep your loved one warm while inside the hospital, which is often kept at pretty cold temperatures. As an Amazon best-seller, BEDSURE offers large throw blankets made with both flannel and fleece material for added warmth, starting at $19.99.
Therapeutic comfort socks
The experts at Baptist Medical Network highlight Dr. Comfort Socks for Men or Women as one of the best brands of comfort socks for cancer patients with prices starting as low as $9.99. Made with bamboo charcoal fibers to help boost blood flow, these socks make a great pick to help increase circulation during long seated periods of chemotherapy treatment.
Silk eye mask
Gentle on both skin and hair, a silk sleep mask can help ease a loved one into sleep during a chemotherapy session. Lunya offers their washable silk sleep mask for $48 with thermoregulation to help keep the wearer cool and comfortable.
Because patients may experience scalp sensitivity as a result of chemo, a silk headscarf can be both functional as well as stylish. Founded by a breast cancer survivor, Headcovers Unlimited offers a wide range of headwear for those undergoing chemo. Their 100% Pure Silk Scarf can be purchased in various colors for $24.99.
Beanies and caps
Headcovers Unlimited also offers hats for chemotherapy patients in the form of beanies and caps. Their Cardani Bamboo Tranquility Cap is an intricately embroidered beanie that comes in a variety of patterns and can be worn either day or night for $24.99.
Large tote bag with multiple compartments
A large, fashionable tote bag can ensure your loved one has everything they need during chemotherapy visits. For $39.99, CURMIO sells large tote bags on Amazon with numerous compartments to carry everything from headphones, water bottles, books, a laptop, and more.
Cold therapy gloves
Designed with two large gel packs on both sides of each glove, Relief Genius offers their pair of ice gloves on Amazon for those utilizing cold therapy to relieve symptoms of chemotherapy neuropathy for $24.99.
Leak-proof water bottle
With a 5-star Amazon rating, Iron Flask offers a reusable vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottle with three different leak-proof lid options for $21.95. A sturdy water bottle is great to have in order to stay hydrated as a loved one undergoes chemotherapy.
Consider gifting your friend or family member a pair of headphones so they can listen to a favorite podcast or playlist in the midst of a chemotherapy session. The Bose QuietComfort 45 are high-quality Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones priced at $249 on Amazon. With 24-hour battery power, these headphones are both long-lasting and can help keep surrounding noise and distraction at a minimum.
iPad or tablet
Able to play games, scroll social media, stream your favorite TV shows, and more, an iPad or other tablet can help occupy the time spent in treatment sessions. Among the latest models includes the 2022 Apple 10.9-inch iPad priced at $447.86 on Amazon.
For loved ones who would prefer to dedicate screen time exclusively to reading, the Amazon Kindle Oasis offers millions of books, newspapers, and audiobooks to select from. The 7-inch display model is currently priced at $184.99, but older models can be purchased for less.
A puzzle book is a great alternative to screens for those who enjoy keeping their minds and hands occupied during chemotherapy treatments. With 384 pages of puzzles galore, Ultimate Mind Games on Amazon offers word searches, crosswords, sudoku, and more at $5.99 for the paperback version.
Themed coloring books
As a form of self-care and relaxation, coloring can serve as a stress-relief practice. Consider gifting an adult coloring book with soothing themes, such as mantras, mandalas, or even funny jokes, depending on your loved one’s preference. For $6.97, the You Are Stronger Than You Think Cancer Sucks Coloring Book on Amazon features 70 coloring pages of images and motivational messages for those going through chemotherapy. Just remember to grab some colored pencils too!
Journaling can be a way for those undergoing chemotherapy to process their experiences and emotions. As a gift, consider purchasing CooLeathor’s Leather Journal Writing Notebook from Amazon for $24.99. With 4.8 out of 5 stars, this rustic, vintage journal is compact, soft to the touch, and made with premium-quality paper. Different vegan leather options can also be found on Amazon.
Because chemotherapy can dry out one’s lips, lip balm can make a great gift to help soothe irritated, cracked skin. Burt’s Bees, which can be found on Amazon, is made with all-natural ingredients, including beeswax, vitamin E, and peppermint oil, and is available for $9.49 in a pack of four. When choosing a lip balm for a loved one undergoing chemotherapy, it’s best to stick with fragrance-free products.
Chemotherapy can leave one’s skin feeling dry or extra sensitive. Therefore, consider gifting your loved one a gentle face wash, such as CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Priced at $14.57 on Amazon for a 16-ounce bottle, this product not only cleanses the skin but moisturizes and helps restore the skin’s protective barrier. Additionally, it’s also void of fragrance.
You can’t go wrong with skincare products to help keep your loved one’s dry skin soothed and moisturized, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane is among the company’s best-selling products. Offering various sizes starting at $16.50, this facial cream is lightweight, caters to sensitive skin, and maintains skin moisture for a full 24 hours.
Formulated for excessively dry hands, Vermont’s Original Bag Balm Hand & Body Lotion is a great option for patients in the midst of chemotherapy treatment. Priced at $14.49 on Amazon for a two-pack of 3-ounce tubes, this hand lotion is non-greasy, fast-absorbing, and free of fragrance, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients. Instead, it’s enriched with shea butter and jojoba.
With a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating, Alra’s Mild Conditioning Shampoo is designed specifically with cancer patients in mind who are either currently undergoing chemotherapy or those who are post-treatment. Its gentle formula cleanses, conditions, and boosts hair strength and growth. Their 8-ounce bottle is priced at $15.95 on Amazon.
Experts at Medical News Today report that lemon or mint candies may help rid the mouth of the metallic taste that come accompany chemotherapy treatments. While sugar-free candy may aggravate an upset stomach in some people, a bag of Original Bonds London Sugar Free Sherbet Lemon Sweets from the U.K. is priced at $9.96 on Amazon.
Mint candies may calm gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals, however, chemo patients have self-reported that peppermint helps in terms of alleviating their nausea related to chemotherapy treatments (via Spangler Candy). A 240-pack of Spangler R&W Mini Candy Canes priced at $29.58 can make a fun and festive holiday-themed gift.
Ginger is thought to be an effective means of relieving nausea. Therefore, a one-time purchase of a box of 18 tea bags from Buddha Teas Organic Ginger Root Tea priced at $7.01 on Amazon, is a solid choice for friends or family in need of relief from chemotherapy side effects. Loved ones are sure to enjoy this tea’s soothing and spicy flavors.
A personalized mug
Tea on its own can make a great holiday gift, but what goes better with tea than a festive mug? For $8.95, USA Custom Gifts offers their 15-ounce Custom Photo Coffee Mugs personalized using the buyer’s photo and text of choice on Amazon.
With a 4.7 out of 5-star consumer rating, Stasher offers their Silicone Reusable Storage Bag in a variety of bright fun colors via Amazon. It’s great for those undergoing chemotherapy who may need to pack up food items or personal items when heading to treatment sessions. Even better, it stands up on its own. Microwave, freezer, oven, and dishwasher safe, Stasher offers their mega-sized bag for $22.49.
Offering warmth and relaxation, while either at treatment sessions or on their own time, your loved one may enjoy a pair of comfy, padded slippers. Slippers can be especially great when a patient may need to suddenly get up and use the restroom. Offering a wide selection for both men and women, UGG Slippers can be both fashionable and functional. The average price falls around $100.
Infusion accessible clothing
Chemotherapy involves running a central line or a port to the chest. However, certain shirts and tops may get in the way of this process. Offering chest port access shirts and sweatshirts for men, women, and children, Care and Wear’s Mens Chest Port Access Hoodie by Oscar de la Renta is designed with a shoulder zipper to allow for easy access to the chest. The hoodie is priced at $95.
Deemed "Amazon’s Choice," the Serenilite Hand Therapy Exercise Stress Ball Bundle can make a great gift for someone in the midst of chemotherapy treatment. Priced at $20.99 via Amazon, their 3-pack of stress balls vary in strength from soft to hard and are designed to promote relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. Plus, it has the added benefit of building hand muscle strength.
Those undergoing chemotherapy can be sensitive to smells. Therefore, an unscented candle can be the perfect gift so your loved one can still enjoy the soothing effects of a candle, without the fragrance. (Less than) Ladylike Candle Company offers sustainably grown soy wax candles that are designed with scent-sensitive parents in mind. Created specifically for a friend going through cancer treatment, their 8.5-ounce Strong As A Mother candle is priced at $20.
For cancer patients, a seatbelt pillow can provide added protection while driving. With over 1,000 ratings adding up to 4.7 stars, Rainbowstar offers their patterned seat belt pillow for $23.95 on Amazon. Reviewers note that the product provided additional cushion over their chemotherapy port and was also beneficial for those who underwent breast cancer surgery.
Food gift cards
A loved one going through chemotherapy may appreciate a gift that reduces the need to cook or the costs of eating out while going to and from appointments. Therefore, a Grubhub gift card can be just the thing to treat your loved one to their favorite meals.
Gifting a book to a loved one going through chemotherapy can offer entertainment, as well as support. Perhaps someone you know may prefer a specific genre. However, for those who may appreciate a book specific to cancer, the #1 New York Times bestseller "When Breath Becomes Air" by neurosurgeon Deckle Edge has over 30,000 ratings on Amazon for a cumulative 4.8 out of 5 stars. As a memoir, the author discusses his own experience with cancer and how he came to define what it means to live a meaningful life. The hardcover copy is priced at $12.77 on Amazon.