It’s sometimes hard to know how to show your love and sympathy to a friend or family member going through cancer treatment. After all, you can sympathize with them and be compassionate, but you really have no idea what they’re feeling and experiencing, making it difficult to know what would be appropriate to say — much less to buy as a gift.
The most important thing to remember is that you should look to buy them something that would help them manage their symptoms and not cause them any further stress or anxiety. This requires a little bit of understanding of what chemo patients are experiencing and what types of things would ease their situation.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind.
Don’t buy: Flowers, balloons, or get well cards
These are some of the most common gifts for sick individuals, but they aren’t very appropriate for chemo patients. Flowers and balloons can both trigger infections or allergic reactions, which can be especially dangerous for chemo patients. In addition, many chemo patients are, quite frankly, afraid. They know that their disease could beat them, and reminders of their battle, such as get well cards, can be depressing. The same is true of flowers, which can be unsightly when they begin to wilt and die.
Don’t buy: Anything with strong scents
Chemo patients tend to be extremely sensitive to smells, meaning anything with strong scents — including lotions and perfumes — can be nauseating.
Buy: Something to keep their minds busy
Going through chemo can be extremely taxing on one’s mind. It can become very difficult and frustrating to concentrate and attempt to focus on problem-solving. However, chemo patients still want items around that engage their minds and keep them occupied, which is why things like adult coloring books, puzzles, and brain teasers can be a fun, relaxing way to stay engaged.
Buy: Delicious, easy-to-eat snacks
Keeping food in the belly is important for chemo patients since they should never take medications on an empty stomach. That said, it’s important that they have healthy snacks that are easy to digest. Consider dried fruits, dark chocolates, and peppermint candies, which can help relieve nausea and dry mouth.
Buy: Unscented self-care products
Chemo treatment can be extremely hard on a patient’s skin, causing it to lose important oils and moisture. However, as mentioned above, most lotions contain scents that can cause a chemo patient to feel nauseated, which is why you should buy them an unscented product such as those from Lindi Skin or Dionis Goats Milk.
Buy: Something to help them keep warm
Chemo treatment centers are often kept at cool temperatures, and most chemo patients will feel chilly much of the time. Buying them something to keep them warm — such as knitted socks or a warm hat — is a great, practical gift that they will surely be grateful for.
Want to Take out the Guesswork? Buy a Gift Basket!
At Rock the Treatment, we have assembled a number of gift baskets that are designed specifically for cancer treatment patients and include many of the positive items discussed here. Check out our Shop to learn more!