Gift ideas for your friend with cancer

December 03, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. When it comes to choosing the perfect gift for a loved one, we are often at a loss. When it’s a loved one fighting cancer, it can be even more difficult to decide.

Think about how you usually choose a gift for your special someone. Choosing a gift for a friend fighting cancer shouldn’t be any different; there are just a few things to keep in mind. 

Since chemotherapy and radiation can alter a person’s sense of taste and affect their sense of smell, avoid giving gifts like sweets, candy, scented lotions and perfumes. Plants and flowers can also put patients at an increased risk for infections. Instead, give other gifts from the heart, including:

  • A magazine subscription for your friend’s favorite pastime
  • A collection of bestselling books
  • Wireless headset or speakers
  • A gift certificate for a house cleaning, grocery store, local restaurant or massage
  • New pajamas or a robe
  • Hat, gloves and a scarf to keep warm throughout the cold months
  • Jewelry, accessories and other beauty items to pamper and relax
  • Funny movies and DVDs of television series – chosen by you!
  • Unscented lotions and lip balms
  • Framed photos of your favorite memories together or a picture collage blanket of loved ones
  • Fun and unique mind games, such as crossword puzzles, Soduku games and word searches
  • Adult coloring books and colored pencils 

In the spirit of giving, don’t forget to help the family member closest to your friend — the caregiver. Caregivers can often feel stressed and isolated, and need support throughout the treatment process too. You can help a caregiver by:

  • Offering to help with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, childcare or yardwork
  • Talking to them about their feelings
  • Giving them a gift basket or a gift certificate for a relaxing massage
  • Sending a heartfelt greeting card 

No matter what you decide, keep in mind that your gift does not need to be cancer specific.  The gift of friendship is often the best gift someone can receive. By spending time with your friend and their caregiver, you can help them feel like they did before cancer became a part of their life. 

Here are some other ways you can help a friend fighting cancer.

Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.


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