5 Gift Suggestions for Cancer Patients

by Brian English

Now that the holidays are here, family and friends are plotting to get something special for the cancer patients in their lives. Here in the WhatNext, we realize that this can be difficult territory to navigate. What’s the perfect gift for a cancer patient? This question alone can tie people into knots.

5 Heartwarming Gifts For Cancer Patients What Next Blog

We asked the WhatNext community what kind of gifts that they’d like around this time of year. And hopefully this list of five things to get (along with a short rundown of what NOT to get) will guide friends and family toward the right choices this holiday season.


Like everyone else this time of year, cancer patients love tech toys. But there’s it’s more than a toy; because of treatments, cancer patients spend a lot more time with these items. And their versatility – you can watch movies, play music, read, surf online, read email, and more – helps tackle all those hours sitting in one place.

Chemo Ipad Via Sprintingtowards60.Com

“An iPod, iPad or other type of MP3 player would be great for those long treatment days,” writes WhatNexter Bonecrusher.


Soft is key for cancer patients. So cozy pajamas, nightgowns, sweaters, sweatpants, t-shirts make great gifts. Bonus points for finding comfy clothes that don’t look like pajamas – but that are just as comfortable to sleep in. Go with all-cotton materials for increased softness. Fuzzy slippers fall into this category, too. The shirt in the picture below is a specialty chemo shirt from www.comfychemo.com.



“Gift certificates to vendors the patient uses could come in handy,” writes Ejourneys. “I stayed away from malls during treatment, and ordered home delivery on items I otherwise would have bought in brick-and-mortar stores.”

Gift Cards

These days, gift cards are easier than every to buy. You can find them for lots of restaurants and online stores right at your local grocery or convenience store. You can also email gift cards and certificates online with just a few keyboard strokes. What’s more, today even local services offer gift cards or certificates, so important services that patients can appreciate can also be handed over in a convenient envelope.

Some patients don’t even want the gift cards for themselves. Robsterstu wrote that he wanted gift cards just to be able to take his wife to dinner. “It gets her out of the kitchen, and both of us out of the house,” he says.

SueRose pointed out that a great gift would simply be “money, so I could buy my daughter and sister some Christmas presents online, or payoff some medical bills.” Gift cards let you give cash that the patient can receive with dignity. An Amex or Visa gift card can just as well be used to pay critical bills as it can to buy something frivolous.


Cleaning For A Cancer Patient

“House cleaning help would be number one on my list,” suggests BoiseB. Whether you volunteer to donate personal time, or decide to hire professional house cleaners to take on the chore, every exhausted cancer patient (yes, especially the women) would appreciate an extra hand to help keep their homes in order for their families. Some cleaning services will clean for free for cancer patients. 


Sometimes, just the gift of human contact is the best present of all. Spend some quality time with the cancer patient you love. Show up unannounced. Let them know you care. Meyati of the forums wrote that her ideal holiday gift would simply be “a kind word, and letting me be.”

Visiting Cancer Patient At Home


Here’s what cancer patients don’t want for the holidays:
• Books about Cancer – When you live it every day, you don’t need to read about it. Just don’t.
• Videos about “The Power of Positive Thinking” – Everyone finds their hope and inspiration for their cancer fight in their own way; it comes from within, not from a DVD.
• Health Supplements or Vitamins – That’s just what a cancer patient needs: more pills to take. Not a good idea.

As a cancer patient, what’s on your holiday wish list? Sound off on the WhatNext Forums and let us know!

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