What to gift someone with cancer

Thursday 23 September 2021

What does someone with cancer really want? What will they appreciate? What might be useful?

Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

Ask yourself what someone might need

If you want to buy something, think about what stage they’re at in their treatment programme or recovery.

Cancer and treatment can bring about many physical changes, including hair loss, weight changes, surgical scars, and skin rashes. Comfort is key for someone with cancer and gifting appropriate beauty products or cosy garments will be really appreciated. You might consider:

  • A scarf, hat, or baseball cap if someone has lost their hair after chemo.
  • A non-irritating lip balm or moisturiser to ease chapped and sore skin.
  • Cosy socks, slippers, or a blanket.
  • A jumper or cardigan in their favourite colour to relax on the sofa.

Gift cards

If you’re not quite sure what might be best, vouchers are a great option to allow someone to choose for themselves. You can pick their favourite shop, restaurant, or something they’ve never tried. They will really appreciate having something to look forward to and an opportunity to treat themselves when they are feeling better.

Treat Boxes

Why not combine all the above? There are lots of companies online offering hampers of carefully chosen treats suitable for everyone - from tasty healthy snacks to lovely writing paper, or sleep masks to scented candles.

There are also companies that specialise in skin products for people undergoing treatment from Beauty Despite Cancer. Check out their gifts for women and men.

Or, you could order a bundle of health-enhancing and calming products.

With lots on the market, you’re sure to find something that really suits the person you are buying for.

If you’re quite crafty, why not make your own present? You could customise your own hamper and make it really personal. Fill an empty box or basket with all their favourite things – a book by their favourite author, photos, or puzzle books.

Support and kindness

These are the greatest gift you can offer. When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, you may worry that you’ll say or do the wrong thing and you may hold back and struggle to find the right words.

But offering emotional support through hugs, a listening ear, laughter, or a shoulder to cry on may be just what they need.

And it doesn’t have to be a physical gift. Practical help may be much needed

Fatigue or lack of energy is very common during, or after treatment for cancer.

Offering to help a friend out with practical chores, or co-ordinating help with other friends or family can remove a lot of pressure.

Could you help to look after the kids so they can rest, make dinner so they don’t have to cook, or walk the dog when they’re feeling tired?

It helps to be specific when offering help and give them a suggestion. Making decisions can be exhausting when you are going through treatment. So instead of asking, “What can I do to help?” - ask, “Would it be helpful if I did some shopping?” or “Can I give you a lift to the hospital for your appointment on Tuesday?”

It's the thought that counts

Remember, it really is the thought that counts, and the gift of your support will remind someone with cancer that you are thinking of them, and you’ve got their back. It doesn’t cost a penny, but it’s priceless.

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