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4+ Gift Ideas for a Family Dealing with Cancer

gift ideas for family dealing with cancer

A cancer diagnosis can be stressful for an entire family. Whether a parent or a child undergoes cancer treatment, the stress is systemic. Physical gifts, financial support, and gifts of time can help alleviate burdens. Here are our ideas for gifts for a family dealing with cancer, as well as suggestions for other forms of support that do not involve buying a gift.

1. Healthy foods

  • Why we love them: Food gifts offer a welcome treat for the whole family while providing for a patient’s nutritional needs.
  • What to look for: Look for organic and nutritious treats that ditch added sugar. For a longer-lasting gift, you could consider a cookbook filled with healthy and delicious recipes that can be enjoyed as a family.
  • Mend Together favorites:

2. Bird feeders

  • Why we love them: Whether window-mounted or pole-mounted, bird feeders bring the healing power of nature to you. Adults and children alike can spend time together watching the birds that the feeder beckons to the window.
  • What to look for: Identify a model that provides the best view from whichever room it will be enjoyed the most. It may be a window-mounted model or one that can hang from a tree branch or a pole. Don’t forget the birdseed.
  • Mend Together favorites:

3. Activity books

4. Books for young readers

What else can you do for a family with cancer?

Gifts are not the only way to support a family wrangling with a cancer diagnosis. Your time and effort are excellent and much-needed ways to make daily life easier for the whole family. Here are four ways you can gift your time to a family dealing with cancer.

  • Offer to help with household and family care tasks. Cooking, cleaning, and other household chores can be exhausting for someone caring for a sick spouse or child, or for someone undergoing cancer treatment themselves. Offer to make a meal or mow the lawn to make daily life easier.
  • Take the kids for a day. Bringing the kids to a special activity gives the adults a welcome reprieve, whether they need childcare while a parent receives treatment or the parents just want to take the day for themselves. Plus, the kids get to blow off steam and not worry about illness, even if it is just for a few hours.
  • Don’t constantly ask the family for updates. A service like the Mend Together community journal platform provides an outlet for patients and their families to share updates. This way, exhausted patients and caregivers only need to provide updates once that friends and family can check. You may wish to volunteer to help the family write and share these updates.
  • Consider monetary help. Cancer care and related expenses add up, and they can be devastating for a family’s finances. With the family’s permission, you may wish to organize a fundraiser, manage a profile on Mend Together’s registry platform, or donate to them directly. Alternatively, you can offer to pay for food, clothing, and other needs.  

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Offering Additional Support

Family is an essential support system when someone receives a cancer diagnosis, but no family can go it alone. Through the Gift & Donation Registry, families can create a list of the most practical items they need during treatment, while the Community Journal lets families share important updates with the push of a button, avoiding the emotional burden of answering how they are many times over. Our new Volunteer Calendar takes the mystery out of daily tasks. Emotional, financial, and practical help from friends, neighbors, coworkers, and extended family can help alleviate the burden of managing an illness and everyday life.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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Smart Alternatives to Flowers for Cancer Patients

Flowers seem like a natural way to cheer up a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. You may be surprised to learn, however, that your gift can do more harm than good. In fact, flowers are considered one of the worst gifts for cancer patients.

Why is gifting flowers for cancer patients a bad idea? More importantly, what can you send instead? Here are some of the worst gifts for cancer patients and some of the best thoughtful gift ideas to give instead.

Why not buy flowers for cancer patients?

People with cancer experience many side effects while going through cancer treatment: hair loss, dry skin, emotional side effects to name a few. Immunosuppression is another one of the physical side effects of cancer treatment that often gets overlooked.

Chemotherapy treatment lowers your loved one’s ability to fight infection and subsequently raises their risk of infection. Their immunocompromised state makes it harder to ward off bacteria and fungi that may not be harmful to most healthy people. 

According to Harvard Health, flowers are a major source of both fungal spores and bacteria found in the plant material. The water in the vase also harbors harmful bacteria. The type of cancer also impacts susceptibility to additional illness. Those with weakened immune systems, particularly with blood cancer or those who received a bone marrow transplant, are especially susceptible.

There are also other reasons to not send flowers to a person with cancer. Floral arrangements could remind some patients of funerals, which is an understandably stressful thought for many. This reminder could take an additional emotional toll that impacts how the person recovers from cancer therapies.

Perhaps most important, a gift that actually helps with recovery from surgery treatments can have an even greater impact. Receiving flowers inspired Mend Together Founder, Lisa Lefebvre, to highlight this issue that many cancer patients face.

I was hit with $40,000 in unexpected expenses and received $7,000 worth of flowers during one of my bouts with cancer.  A Registry would have helped direct those bouquet funds to where they were really needed.

Providing wonderful gifts that bring joy and help during the cancer journey is a great way to offer support. You can create a registry for financial support and gifts for cancer patients with Mend Together. Get started here

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Five more gifts you should not buy for a cancer patient – and what you should get instead

Flowers are not the only gift to avoid buying. These five popular categories can be problematic – but there are plenty of great alternatives you can get in their place.

Five of the worst gifts for cancer patients (and what you should get instead)

Flowers are not the only bad gift for cancer patients. These five popular categories can be problematic – but there are plenty of great alternatives you can get in their place.

Sugar-laden treats

  • Why they are not a good gift: A box of your loved one’s favorite candy might put a smile on their face, but sugar causes inflammation, which is antithetical to the healing process. Your loved one might also be facing a loss of appetite and dietary restrictions that are impacting their recovery. Many patients struggle with nausea during cancer treatment and rely on bland foods to get through. Looking at their favorite foods might negatively impact their mood.
  • Buy this instead: While sugary, highly-processed treats are a bad idea, there’s still joy to be had. Focus on fresh, nutritious foods. Herbal tea, a fruit basket, or treats like dark chocolate that is low in sugar are excellent alternatives. You can also provide gift certificates to food delivery apps or health food stores to help break up long hospital stays and help their family during this challenging time. 
  • Mend Together recommends:

Scented products

  • Why they are not a good gift: Chemotherapy can cause a heightened sensitivity to fragrances.  In particular, artificial fragrances can be irritating to patients, causing redness, discomfort, or an allergic reaction in severe cases, even for those who did not have allergies to fragrances before their diagnosis. Avoid getting a gift basket with lotions and spa treatments from department stores, as they tend to have irritants and additives. 
  • Buy this instead: Self-care products are the perfect gifts for cancer patients – just be sure to read the label first. Swap herbal and floral scents for products that contain no synthetic fragrances or are fragrance-free. Look for sensitive skincare products that promote hydrated skin without irritating the side effects of treatment, like radiation burn.
  • Mend Together recommends:  

Get well cards

  • Why they are not a good gift: Cards are one of the more common ideas for cancer gifts. While well-intentioned, get-well cards may be upsetting to a family member or friend with cancer who does not have a good prognosis. 
  • Buy this instead: Look for other ways to support your loved one’s emotional needs. Send a book or meditation guide that may help them navigate difficult emotions, find comfort, and discover strength on their own schedule on difficult days. Or give them the gift of your time and lend a listening ear. 
  • Mend Together recommends:


  • Why they are not a good gift: Ballons are another bad idea that stems from good intentions.  Balloons can trigger latex allergies in sensitive patients, leading many hospitals to ban them from hospital rooms. There is also concern that the strings attached to the balloons can get tangled in IV poles and other equipment. Like flowers for cancer patients, balloons are also considered one of the worst gifts. 
  • Buy this instead: Offer gifts that can bring reprieve and entertainment while brightening up your loved one’s space while they navigate cancer therapies. Put together a gift basket with crossword puzzles or coloring books. Alternatively, give them a heated blanket to keep their feet warm during treatment. You could also have someone make a custom hospital gown. For a truly unique gift, look for something that provides a distraction from staring at bedroom walls. A bird feeder, for example, can bring joy and calmness.
  • Mend Together recommends:

Stuffed animals

  • Why they are not a good gift: Along with balloons, flowers, and similar gift options, stuffed animals are among the items many hospitals no longer allow into treatment areas due to the concern that they will trigger allergies. While they may be cute and cuddly, they are also impractical, particularly for adult patients who can benefit from other more useful gifts. 
  • Buy this instead: A hypoallergenic pillow may serve the same comforting purpose without the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Look for pillows made with organic materials filled with vegan material like kapok. An ultra-soft pillowcase is an excellent addition, as it feels soft and gentle against sensitive skin. A cozy blanket or warm hair coverings for chilly days are also a comforting gift for a friend with cancer.
  • Mend Together recommends

Turn to Mend Together for practical gifts for cancer patients

There are so many great alternatives to flowers for cancer patients. You can even buy cancer gifts by type of cancer. Friends and family members going through cancer treatment have unique physical and emotional needs. Mend Together has many under-the-radar options to support healing and well-being, including:  

Your friend or family member can put together their own wish list of products and cash funds that can provide some welcome cheer. Visit the Mend Together shop to get started.

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13 Thoughtful Last Chemo Treatment Gift Ideas

last cancer treatment

Completing chemotherapy is a long-awaited milestone for many cancer patients. To celebrate, you may want to give a “last chemo treatment” celebration gift to mark the events. This Mend Together guide has 14 ideas for practical gifts and no-cost last chemo treatment gift ideas to celebrate this milestone with your loved one.

What is a good last chemo treatment gift?

Although chemo may have ended, your loved one is likely still coping with lasting physical or emotional side effects. As you are exploring your options for an end of treatment gift, keep these guiding tips in mind:

  • When in doubt, go practical. Think about how your thoughtful gift can help achieve a goal (like exercising again) or solve a problem (like fatigue or insomnia).
  • Mental health is just as important as physical needs. Your friend or family member was likely anxious and stressed during treatments. Gifts to help support mental health, such as yoga books or meditation guides, can offer welcome reprieves.
  • Consider personal preferences. A certain gift may sound like a good idea, but if your loved one cannot or will not use it, it is not worth the time or effort. Ask if you have any doubt.

With those considerations in mind, here are some of Mend Together’s favorite last chemo treatment gift ideas.

Hair regrowth treatment

  • Why we love it: Hair loss is one of the most common and devastating side effects of chemotherapy, and your friend will be eager for their hair to return. Hair regrowth products can help support this process so they can leave this physical symptom behind. This is also a great gift idea for a chemo care package.
  • What to look for: Search for sulfate-free personal care products that use natural ingredients to stimulate hair growth and support hair health by preventing breakage and thinning.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Healthy eating cookbooks

  • Why we love it: During chemo, patients often turn to comfort food which traditionally lacks nutrition. Chemotherapy also destroys our gut biome, and whole foods can help restore the equilibrium in our digestive system. Cookbooks that focus on delicious ways to prepare healthy, vegetable-forward meals can encourage healthy eating again. This is one of Mend Together’s favorite last chemo treatment gift ideas.
  • What to look for: Select a cookbook tailored to the nutritional needs of cancer patients, or choose a cookbook focused on your friend’s favorite cuisine. (If you want to bring over a meal, explore the recipes in our guide to recipes for chemotherapy patients.)
  • Mend Together favorites:

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Anti-nausea products

Self-care items

  • Why we love it: What better way to celebrate the last day of chemotherapy and healthier road ahead than with a spa day at home? Luxurious and pampering products give your loved one a way to celebrate this next chapter and honor the body that carried them through treatment. 
  • What to look for: Your family member may be sensitive to fragrances or certain compounds after chemotherapy treatment. Ask your loved one before making a purchase with strong scents. 
  • Mend Together favorites:

EMF radiation-blocking electronics

  • Why we love it: Help your friend minimize additional damage to their body. Electronics use while recovering from treatments means ongoing, close exposure to harmful electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation. This can be uncomfortable or even painful for your loved one. A special pair of headphones or a laptop shield can reduce how much harmful EMF radiation your loved one is exposed to while these devices are in use.
  • What to look for: Ensure the product you are buying has been tested by an FCC-certified lab so you know the item is genuine and effective at blocking EMF radiation.
  • Mend Together favorites:

A vacation

  • Why we love it: If your loved one is feeling up for an adventure, a trip to a favorite destination or a brand-new experience could be just what they need to move forward in their life post-treatment.
  • What to look out for: Check in with the patient before booking an extravagant trip. They may feel insecure about venturing too far from the safety of home after treatment. If they give you the green-light: focus on comfort and relaxation above all.

“As I wrapped up my final round of treatment, my fiancé took me on a scuba diving trip to Tulum, Mexico. What was really nice about it was that it marked the end of journey for me. It allowed us to put our shoulders down and look forward. On this trip we went cave-diving, where there was no opportunity to turn back and resurface. I thought to myself why am I putting myself in this risky situation after I had just fought so hard for my life? But I realized that in doing something that I really loved to do before my diagnosis, I regained that thrill of being alive again and was able to transition into feeling celebratory that my cancer treatments were over.” – Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together Founder/2x cancer “endure-er”

How to celebrate the last chemo treatment

Sometimes the perfect gift isn’t something you buy. Meaningful gestures from the heart can be just as valuable to your loved one as any gift. Here are some ideas to consider as you plan how to mark an occasion as momentous as the completion of chemotherapy treatments.

Hold a last chemo treatment parade

Ask friends and family to line the street leading up to your loved one’s home as you transport them from their last chemotherapy treatment. They can cheer, play music, or hold up signs congratulating your loved one on reaching this milestone. Hosting a goodbye chemo party isn’t for everyone; an end-of-treatment parade is also a COVID-19-friendly way for friends and family to celebrate with their loved ones. They can watch and wave from a distance without missing a beat.

Make a slideshow or video for your loved one

Ask friends, family, and coworkers to record short clips conveying good wishes and congratulations to your loved one. Assemble these clips into one video that can be interspersed with photos, inspirational quotes, art, and other uplifting images and video. The result is a wonderful congratulatory present that your loved one can return to over again.

This option is also a great way to connect from afar. If you’re still dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic or live too far away to visit in person, consider this gesture with a video call.

Pay it forward

Consider how you can help other people going through cancer treatment. If you sew or knit, creating caps and donating them to the local cancer center is a kind gesture. Helping in other ways, like fundraising for cancer research or making blood and platelet donations, is also a thoughtful way to impact the lives of cancer patients.

Continue to offer help

The most profound, impactful, and meaningful actions may be the small ones you do every day. Life after cancer treatment doesn’t just go back to normal. Being there long after the presents and the parties mean more than you know to a friend who may be struggling with anxiety, fatigue, or lingering side effects of chemotherapy. This help can be material or mental. Offer to cook a meal, go grocery shopping, help with housework, or just be a listening ear on the other end of the phone. 

10 last day of chemo quotes to share

If you’re at a loss for something to write in your card or to say to your loved one, consider these last day of chemo quotes to celebrate this important milestone in the cancer journey:

  1. “You’re off to great places, today is your day; your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” – Dr. Seuss
  2. “It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela (this one is particularly meaningful after a difficult time)
  3. “Chemo was tough, but you were tougher.” – Anonymous
  4. “Each day brings new healing.” – Mary White
  5. “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” – Ruth Ann Shubacker
  6. “We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is our only choice.” – Anonymous
  7. “The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” – Steve Maraboli
  8. “Starting something can be easy; it is finishing it that is the highest hurdle.” – Isabella Poretsis
  9. “The thing about finishing a story is that finishing is really only the beginning.” – William Herring
  10. “Sometimes the worst circumstances make the best people.” – Johnnie Dent Jr.

When crafting messages for cancer patients finishing chemo treatment, keep a positive outlook. Finishing treatment comes with a huge sense of relief, but it’s important to recognize that their cancer journey might not be complete yet. Your loved one is likely experiencing a range of emotions. Follow their lead and celebrate this day.

Turn to Mend Together for more last chemo treatment gift ideas

Mend Together offers resources like the Gift & Donation Registry to support your loved one at all treatment stages. Whether undergoing their first round of radiation or their last chemotherapy treatment, our thoughtfully curated, and fully vetted gift options are designed to address the recipient’s physical and emotional needs. Learn more about our Community Journal and Volunteer Calendar for additional ways to support your loved one through cancer.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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15+ Unique Gifts for Friends with Cancer

When choosing gifts for friends with cancer, a thoughtful gift can mean the world. A gift basket with meaningful, practical, and helpful items are sure to brighten your loved one’s day. 

What are good gifts for cancer patients?

Think beyond soft socks and insulated water bottles. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Think practical. Pocket puzzle books, adult coloring books, and flowers are common gifts for cancer patients, but they aren’t practical. Think beyond the hospital gift shop and provide practical gifts to help with side effects like irritated skin, sleepless nights, and stress throughout all stages of their health journey.
  • Consider the type of cancer and treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation therapies, and surgery each create unique challenges. Similarly, your loved one’s diagnosis can have a profound effect on their needs. Someone with breast cancer will have different needs than someone with lung cancer or colon cancer. Ask about their treatment and choose gifts based on their cancer type.
  • Don’t forget mental health. Your loved one’s physical and mental health should be treated equally. Gifts that can help them cope with their cancer diagnosis and treatment — or simply help them take their mind off things — will go a long way.

Helpful gifts for friends with cancer 

Here are 15+ of the best gifts for cancer patients for you to consider as you decide what is best for your loved one.

1. Head wraps and hats

  • Why we love them: Head wraps and ultra-soft hats are one of Mend Together’s favorite gifts for cancer patients. They can shield sensitive scalps from the elements in a stylish way.
  • What to look for: Pick wraps made with ultra-soft natural fabrics that are breathable and comfortable. Make sure the head covering doesn’t have tags, either, as they can be extra irritating to sensitive, bare scalp.
  • Mend Together favorites:

2. Deep quenching body lotion

  • Why we love them: Dry skin is a common, unending side effect of many cancer treatments, and can last for an extended period after treatment is over. Rich lotions made with moisturizing botanicals can help support proper, much-needed skin hydration.
  • What to look for: Avoid products with artificial fragrances that can further irritate sensitive skin. You may also want to look for formulations with ingredients that encourage wound healing, like St. John’s Wort.
  • Mend Together favorites:

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3. Natural, low-sugar chocolate bars

  • Why we love them: Snacks and treats are one of the more common gift ideas for cancer patients. Chocolate can bring a much-needed smile to your friend’s face, but treats loaded with sugar do not support their nutritional needs (or anyone’s, really). In fact, sugar can feed tumors – precisely what your friend does not need during cancer treatment.
  • What to look for: Always check the ingredients for excess sugar. When in doubt, reach for dark chocolate, which is high in antioxidants. Consider chocolate with other health-boosting ingredients like fruits, nuts, or spices.
  • Mend Together favorites:

4. Yoga accessories

  • Why we love them: The time following a cancer diagnosis is stressful. Yoga offers heaps of benefits for both mind and body. Once your loved one is cleared for movement, the gentle stretching, intentional poses, and breathwork offered through yoga can help them find inner peace.
  • What to look for: Helpful guides tailored to those with cancer focuses on renewed energy and continued healing. You can also consider gifting accessories like yoga blocks and straps that make the practice easier for someone easing into poses.
  • Mend Together favorites:

5. Hot water bottles

  • Why we love them: Hot water bottles are an eco-friendly, drug-free way to improve blood flow and help ease pain throughout the cancer journey. They can also be taken from room to room, so your friend can get relief without needing to plug a heating pad into an outlet.
  • What to look for: Shop for a hot water bottle with a tight seal and an ultra-soft, washable case. Make sure it is made from natural materials.
  • Mend Together favorites:

“I use my Baby Lamb water bottle all the time to extend the time between my visits to my Physical Therapist as well as a Massage Therapist. It cuts down on my pain and associated costs. Sometimes I use it to soften up my back, but lately, I’ve been using one under each arm just before I go to bed to loosen up the muscles that are still taut from surgery.”

-Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together founder and two-time cancer “endure-er”

6. Aromatherapy

  • Why we love them: Uplifting, pleasant scents are the perfect gift to raise your friend’s spirits or help them relax.
  • What to look for: Discount aromatherapy oils are cut with other irritating chemicals. Look for 100 percent natural essential oils that do not skimp on quality with fillers. For a complete gift, look for sets that come with the diffuser and some oils to try.
  • Mend Together favorites:

7. Natural hair growth formulas

  • Why we love them: Hair loss can be emotionally devastating for a loved one with cancer, but many hair growth products are filled with irritating and harmful chemicals that can further disrupt your friend’s healing process.
  • What to look for: A complete hair growth kit should include several items that round out a total hair regrowth ecosystem, not just a one-off shampoo or gel.  Select a formula that ditches harsh chemicals in favor of gentle yet effective botanicals that stimulate scalp circulation, creating a healthy environment for hair growth.
  • Mend Together favorites:

8. Sleep meditation light

  • Why we love them: Insomnia is common among those with cancer, whether it is a side effect of treatment, anxiety, or they are simply poor sleepers. A sleep meditation light can help your friend get much-needed rest. These devices project a halo of light onto the ceiling, giving your friend a tool to help them synchronize their breath and calm their mind.
  • What to look for: Products designed by insomniacs, for insomniacs are created with the real-world experience needed to address this common problem. You should also consider gifting a non-intrusive device that won’t wake up a sleeping partner.
  • Mend Together favorites:

9. Cookbooks

  • Why we love them: Food and nutrition are central to your friend’s recovery. Cookbooks are excellent guides for a friend getting into the kitchen and exploring ways to support their healing from the inside, out. Cancer-specific cookbooks focus on recipes that not only nourish, but can help support your friend experiencing dry mouth, nausea, and other common treatment side effects. 
  • What to look for: The cookbook you choose should focus on whole foods, including whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These are the most healing food groups yet often the first ones to get dropped when someone is losing energy to cook or interest in food.  There are many options out there written by or in consultation with nutritionists, physicians, and other health professionals with cancer treatment experience; look for these titles while shopping. If the cookbook is focused on nutrient-dense vegetables, even better.
  • Mend Together favorites:

10. Start a Cash Fund

To make a challenging time even more difficult, cancer is expensive. Support your friend by starting and sharing a cash fund to help them cover medical expenses and hospital stays, purchase personal care products, and to support families during these difficult times.

You can create and share a Gift and Donation registry in three simple steps by clicking here.

11. Help with Daily Activities

One of the most meaningful gifts is your time and assistance. Help your friend with cancer by organizing a meal train, covering laundry services, getting groceries, and helping with house chores. Don’t ask, “how can I help?” instead, offer options for support. For example, “I’m going to drop off my dry cleaning, can I take your laundry as well?” or “I’m available tomorrow to help with house cleaning; what time works for you?” Be actionable and specific. Your friend will appreciate the support without the overwhelm.

Gifts for friends with cancer help 

Whether you friend just received their diagnosis or they have lived with cancer for years, practical and thoughtful gifts can be a bright spot for your friend on their most difficult days. The gift you choose – and how to choose to gift it – should be shaped by your friend’s needs and preferences. Perhaps they love cooking and would appreciate trying new vegetarian recipes around the holidays, or maybe they miss chocolate and a healthier option would lift their spirits on Valentine’s Day. No matter the occasion, purpose, or how it is given, Mend Together has dozens of options for you to explore. Visit our shop to find more than 300 product and service options, all of which have been thoroughly reviewed and endorsed by our medical board of advisors.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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The 20 Best Gifts for Double Mastectomy Patients

The road to healing after a double mastectomy is a lengthy one. As your friend or family member rests up, the right gift can cheer them up and help them care for their needs. Here are our suggestions for the best gifts for double mastectomy patients. This list includes both practical items to buy and time you can offer. We’ve also offer information that can help your loved one as they heal after a double mastectomy.

What are the best gifts for double mastectomy patients?

The Mend Together shop offers dozens of useful items designed to make life easier for double mastectomy patients after surgery. Here are 13 of our favorites.

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Comfortable and accessible clothing

  • Why we love them: Comfortable and accessible tops replace a baggy t-shirt, making it easier to care for a surgical site and manage drains.
  • What to look for: Stretchy, soft fabrics will not rub uncomfortably against sensitive incision sites. Look for something easy to put on as well, which will help your loved one dress and undress easier. Consider clothing with a drain management component to help keep post-surgical drains in place.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Post-mastectomy bra

  • Why we love them: Post-mastectomy bras do not have stiff underwire or uncomfortable molding. Soft fabric feels comfortable against scars. In addition, the straps and clasps are easy to adjust while your loved one’s range of movement is limited. 
  • What to look for: The easier to put on and take off after surgery, the better it is for your loved one. Many post-mastectomy bras may also feature pockets to hold breast forms, so the bra can continue to be worn after surgery. You may also want to consider if your loved one needs to wear a compression bra, as some fabrics like modal may provide some necessary compression while healing. 
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Scar products

  • Why we love them: Topical creams and oils can help soften scar tissue during the healing process, encouraging healing and reducing their appearance. 
  • What to look for: Shop for formulas with natural antioxidants that have antiseptic, skin-regenerating, and anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure the product you choose does not contain artificial fragrances or ingredients that irritate sensitive skin.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Breast pillows

  • Why we love them: Pillows are one of the best gifts for double mastectomy patients. Hugging a pillow can help alleviate pain and reduce pressure on surgical sites. This can be helpful for support while making sudden movements, like coughing and sneezing, after surgery.
  • What to look for: Comfortable is the way to go. Ultra-soft coverings are gentle and soothing against sensitive skin, while the firm cushioning inside provides the necessary support to ensure that sensitive areas are not strained during movement. Organic cotton is an excellent option that can also be easily cleaned. Additionally, we recommend cruelty-free options like Kapok down alternative filling.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Nipple tattoos

  • Why we love them: If your loved one is considering breast reconstruction after a double mastectomy, nipple tattoos can help them try out several looks before they commit to permanent ink. 
  • What to look for: Consider gifting a multi-pack that offers choices in skin tone and design.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

“I never dreamed that testing temporary nipple tattoo brands would be one of my responsibilities at Mend Together. Smile. Actually, I was glad to be part of this process. I haven’t undergone nipple reconstruction and I was surprised at the variety of options—and how oddly healing it can be to have the illusion of nipples again.”

Lisa Lefebvre, Founder and two time cancer “endur-er,” Mend Together

Meditations for healing

  • Why we love them: Studies link meditation with decreased anxiety, depression, and stress levels in cancer patients. Meditations for healing can encourage your friend or family member to focus on protecting their mind and mental health while their bodies are under duress. 
  • What to look for: Meditation guides tailored to surgery and cancer recovery address the specific needs of someone who has undergone procedures like a double mastectomy, including pain management and sleep.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Lymphedema products

  • Why we love them: Lymphedema is a buildup of lymph fluid, a common side effect of breast cancer surgery. Lymphedema prevention guides and products can help your friend or family member manage their condition or help them avoid it altogether.
  • What to look for: Many compression sleeves, the main supportive clothing item, are unattractive and medical-looking. A stylish compression sleeve can lift your loved one’s spirits while providing the support they need to keep lymph fluid moving properly.
  • Mend Together recommendations:

Mastectomy gift box

  • Why we love it: Mastectomy gift boxes pre-assemble several items your loved one can benefit from while recovering from a double mastectomy. They also arrive beautifully wrapped, so they are ready to gift right away.
  • What to look for: A mastectomy gift box should include practical items to support healing, as well as items that can be of use later. Our mastectomy gift box includes a multifunctional robe and breast pillow to use during recovery, a shower shirt to protect surgical sites, pain relief cream, and temporary nipple tattoos to test out on reconstructed breasts.
  • Mend Together recommendation:

How can you help someone after a double mastectomy?

It is not only practical gifts that can help a loved one after they have undergone a double mastectomy. You may want to consider arranging these other ways to help:

  • Volunteer your time. Whether it be childcare, cleaning the house, or offering rides to doctor’s appointments, you friend or family member can use a helping hand as their incisions heal. Volunteering to help with these daily tasks is just as important, and as meaningful, as any gift you buy.
  • Be a listening ear. Your loved one may hesitate to say that the burden of cancer and cancer treatment is weighing on their mind. Open the door first: Reassure them that you are there to talk to or help them take their mind off things for a while.
  • Help them share updates. Naturally, your family member or friend will receive many requests asking how they are feeling. Retelling the same story time and again is exhausting. Volunteer to update platforms like Mend Together’s Community Journal, so friends, neighbors, and coworkers can receive updates without asking. 

Supporting double mastectomy patients at Mend Together

Mend Together offers ways for those with a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones a way to reach out and get the support they need. Our shop offers gifts tailored by surgery (including mastectomy), type of treatment, diagnosis, symptoms, and other considerations — so that patients can add the gifts that they believe will be most helpful to them for others to browse. Help your loved one start a Gift & Donation Registry today.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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10+ Creative Gifts for Caregivers Helping People With Cancer

creative gifts for cancer

If you want to thank someone who has gone above and beyond to help you out during a challenging time, you don’t necessarily need to wait for a holiday to send a gift. 

It is natural to want to say “thank you” to anyone acting as a caregiver.  We feel indebted to these generous friends and family members.  A well-chosen gift is a way of expressing gratitude to people who help to get you through tough times. 

Here are 10 creative gifts for caregivers, no matter what time of year.

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1. The Gift of Pampering

Caregivers spend a lot of time taking care of other people, so a wonderful gift is something that invites them to take a moment to pamper themselves.

·      Massage gift certificate

·      Scented Candles or Aromatherapy sets

·      Coupons for a cleaning service

Mend Together favorites:

A handcrafted wood diffuser set made of Japanese Hinoki Cypress combines elegant design with healing essential oil aromatherapy. A blend of Pine, Hinoki and Eucalyptus essential oils are included in the set and help create a sense of calm. 

An organic salt and sugar body scrub is just the thing for tired skin and a luxurious end-of-day treat.  The all-natural scrub exfoliates, cleanses, improves circulation, and is scented with natural lavender.

2. The Gift of Deliciousness

Never underestimate the power of food to make someone feel happy, satisfied and cared for.  Caretakers often don’t have a lot of time to spend thinking up recipes or researching great restaurants so this is always a welcome gift.

·       Gift certificate to a favorite restaurant (bonus points for  helping a small business!)

·       A new recipe book from a renowned chef

·       A gift box with foods they might not buy for themselves

Mend Together favorites:

The Plenty Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi is packed with ultra-tasty vegetarian recipes from one of London’s most famous gourmet chefs. It combines a healthful attitude towards food with wonderful recipes from his four top rate restaurants and syndicated food column.

A Specialty Pear Gift Basket brings the fresh, crisp, creamy taste of pears right to your caregiver’s door. Farm fresh and a serious cut above anything available at the grocery store this is a truly special gift of deliciousness.

3. The Gift of Beauty

 Looking and feeling good are linked to overall feeling of wellbeing. So why not give the gift of beauty to someone who spends more time thinking about others than themselves?

·      Scrubs and Body Treatments

·      Nail or Cosmetic Kits

·      Gift Certificate to a local Salon

Mend Together favorites:

A Rosewater Facial Gift Set This nutrient-packed rosewater facial gift set includes a Cucumber + Watercress Cleanser, Rosewater Moisturizer, and an Avocado Eye Serum. It’s a refreshing, uplifting combo that revitalizes the whole face.

4. The Gift of Chocolate

Chocolate is a gift that most everybody enjoys. Dark Chocolate has also been proven to uplift mood and increase overall health.

·      Chocolate Gift Sets with unusual flavors

·      Hot Chocolate Samplers

·      Chocolate Fondue Sets

Mend Together favorites:

Our Vosges Exotic Chocolate Gift Set takes flavors from around the world like Green Tea Matcha , Guajillo and Chipotle, Banana and Goji combined with super dark chocolate to give your taste buds and your mood a surprising, uplifting treat.

The Antidote 4 Bar Gift Set uses imported organic dark chocolate in combination with delicious ingredients like Rose Salt, Coffee, Cardamom and Ginger.

5. The Gift of Laughter

Nothing is a better pick-me-up than a gift of good cheer. Bring some light into your caregiver’s life with some creatively curated laughs!

·      Subscriptions to classic humor magazines like Mad Magazine

·      A funny tribute video about your caregiver by professional comedians

·      A stand-up comedy class

Mend Together favorite: Comedic self-help book F*ck Feelings is a New York Times Bestseller by a psychiatrist and a comedy writer combining practical tips for living a good life with jokes and humor. We love the combination of laughs with helpful advice.

6. The Gift of Coffee or Tea

A thoughtful nod to the need for a little break can be a daily reminder of how much you appreciate your caregiver.

·       Subscriptions to gourmet coffee delivery

·       An on-the-go tea/coffee tumbler

·       A personalized mug

Mend Together favorite: Our favorite relaxing tea sampler has four delicious teas in a stylish gift box to ease tension and promote restfulness. Enticing flavors include Key Lime Ginger Rooibos, Sweet Banana Crème Chamomile, Peppermint, and Lavender Lemongrass.

7. The Gift of Safety 

With the onset of a new era of self-protection, a practical and thoughtful gift is a stylish face mask to protect from exposure to viral and environmental toxins.  Nobody can have enough reusable masks.

Mend Together Favorite:

We love this fun geometric pattern mask made of two layers of cotton which can be combined for extra protection with an adjustable face shield.

8. The Gift of Good Luck

Combined with a nice greeting card, scratch tickets or lottery tickets are a fun way to give your caregiver a chance to win the jackpot and a little shot of excitement and play.

9. The Gift of Learning

Everyone has a hobby on their bucket list or a favorite pastime they might like to explore more deeply. Luckily, in the digital age of social distancing, there are many online classes you can share with your caregiver, whether it be cooking, writing, watercolor painting or yoga

10. The Gift of Inspiration 

Uplift spirits with a gift that helps replenish their reserves. Caregiving can drain  energy, so a gift that revives the mind, body and soul with some inspiration can be a wonderful way to show your appreciation.

·      Inspirational Books

·      Guided Meditation CDs

·      Yoga guides

Mend Together Favorites:

The Caregiver’s Stress Meditation CD is filled with uplifting affirmations that will help deliver respite and relief reminding us of our strength, resourcefulness and tenacity as a caregiver and loved one. A favorite of psychotherapists, it was produced by a well-respected social worker.  

The Hidden Life of Trees is an unforgettable book that explores groundbreaking scientific discoveries around how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.  A terrific reminder of how we all support each other during difficult times.

Our Founder’s Recommendation

“One of the best gifts I have ever given was to my friend Richard. He was caring for his partner who had cancer and they were both stuck in their apartment pretty much 7 days a week.  Everyone had sympathy for the patient, but Rich was also under a lot of stress. He had to quit his job to stay home as a caregiver ‘round the clock.  So I set up a system where once a week one person would sit with his partner while another took Rich out someplace. His partner got to talk to someone new, and Rich got in some socializing and fresh air—even if it was for just one evening.

I think the most important thing to remember is that gifts for caregivers should be given regularly, not just “one and done”.  Letters, little gifts, appreciation. Everyone is focused on the patient but primary caregivers are the unsung heroes of anyone’s cancer journey.  

I wrote my caregivers letters both during the period they were caring for me and afterward.  It is also a good idea to remember that supporting caregivers is another way of supporting the patient. A caregiver cannot pour from an empty cup. At Mend Together we offer community, online resources, and advice for people living with cancer, their friends, families, and caregivers.” — Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together Founder/2x cancer “endure-er”

All the people who take care of you — family members, friends and professionals — are part of your caregiving team. A thoughtful gift is a great way to show how much you appreciate everything they do for you. For more gifts and tips, create a Mend Together Profile to share with your family and caregivers.

Kate Rigg is a cancer advocate and graduate from the Juilliard School in New York with an honors degree in creative writing from the University of Melbourne.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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Post-Surgery Care Package Guide

Post-Surgery Care Package

The road to recovery after surgery can be arduous for many cancer patients. A post-surgery care package is a practical, yet loving way you can help a loved one transition from the operating room to healing at home. 

Our guide suggests 10 items that are excellent additions to a post-surgery care package, and can be gifted to anyone recovering from cancer surgery. These useful items can help reduce pain and discomfort, navigate daily activities impacted by surgery, and boost spirits on days when pain levels are high and recuperation feels difficult. 

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What do you put in a post-surgery care package?

You may be tempted to place adult coloring books and plastic water bottles in your post-surgery care package. While they certainly have their place and time, these gifts don’t aid your loved one’s recovery. Here are some broad categories to consider when assembling a post-surgery care package: 

  • Functional gifts. Your loved one wants – and needs – products they can use to stay comfortable and conduct everyday activities while recovering from surgery. Special pillows, wound care items, shower covers, compression sleeves, and seatbelt cushions are just a few practical gifts that can, and will, be used right away.
  • Gifts to help improve mental health. Help your loved one cope with the recovery process. Books about resilience in the face of adversity, yoga guides, and guided meditations are just a few of many options you can add to a post surgery care package.
  • Self-care items. Your loved one’s immune system is working overtime to promote healing. Self-care products filled with toxins can inhibit that process. Gifting fragrance-free and toxin-free creams, haircare, and nail care products will be a welcome addition to a routine that is now free of these artificial, harmful chemicals.
  • Gifts specific to their procedure. The type of surgery your loved one had should inform the types of gifts you buy. The needs of someone recovering from a mastectomy are different from those who had an ileostomy.
  • Personal touches. Your loved one will appreciate knowing that you put thought and care into a post surgery care package they can put to good use right away. Write well wishes, notes of encouragement, or inspirational quotes on a card and add it to the care package.

10 items to put in a post-surgery care package

As you begin to narrow down your options, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of products out there that are designed for cancer patients. This easy-to-follow guide can help you understand why some post-surgery care package gifts could be more useful than others. Pick and choose items based on your loved one’s procedure and their most pressing needs.

Best items for post-surgery pain management

Your loved one may experience pain for days, weeks, or months after a surgical procedure. Gifts that can help them manage discomfort are helpful. 


Pressure on surgical areas can cause pain. Coughing and other sudden movements can be especially painful after surgery. Look for pillows made with ultra-soft fabrics to promote comfort and healing.

There are several pillow types out there, each one uniquely suited to your loved one’s needs. A body pillow can help manage pain while coughing and can properly support your loved one if they are more comfortable sleeping while sitting up. This heart-shaped pillow is designed to prop up arms and cushions scar sites. Some pillows, such as this moon shaped pillow, are surgery specific, designed to relieve discomfort while sleeping, sitting, or doing other everyday activities after breast surgery.

Did you know hugging a post-surgery body pillow while coughing can reduce painful movement?  Share this tip with a friend in recovery.

Topical creams

Bruises, and incision pain are the norm even after pain prescriptions run out. Natural topical creams can help close the gap. These provide temporary relief of swelling, burning, and itchiness associated with the surgery site. At Mend Together, we recommend this arnica-infused  Pain and Bruising Relief Cream, a fragrance-free homeopathic formula vetted by our medical advisory board and beloved by patients.

Post-surgery seat belt cushions

Seat belts can cut into incisions and surgical drains. A special cushion eases the ride home from the hospital and afterward, allowing your loved one to wear their seatbelt with minimal pain.  It can be used across the chest for breast surgery or over the abdominal area as well.  

Best items for improving mental health after surgery

Your loved one’s mental health is just as important as their physical health during recovery. These items can  help them cope during the healing process and brighten their day.

Guided meditations

Meditations begin with setting intentions, surgery recovery included. Mend Together founder and 2x cancer “endure-er” Lisa Lefebvre discovered these guided meditations after spending many hours and dollars tracking down the right products and services to help her manage pain, fatigue, and stress.

“Health Journey meditations are created by experts in the mind-body field, supported by science, and scored by award-winning composers,” Lisa says. “They have made a significant difference in my daily well-being, and I often switch up between meditations to keep things fresh.”

Meditations by noted holistic health practitioner Belleruth Naparstek, founder of Health Journeys, are an excellent start for your loved one’s recovery, CDs that can help them destress and visualize the road to healing.


Gentle stretches and low-impact movement (with sign-off from a doctor, of course) can help your loved one declutter their mind while caring for their body. Yoga guides recommended by leading cancer hospitals keep this in mind, tailoring poses specifically for cancer patients to focus on healing, energy, and relaxation.

Nail care

Nail polish is full of toxins that seep into the bloodstream. Not to mention, if your loved one is undergoing chemotherapy after surgery, their nails may become too brittle and damaged to handle a drugstore nail polish. Gifting toxin-free nail products are a great way to enable your loved one to indulge in a favorite beauty routine with none of the harmful byproducts.

Bird feeders

Sometimes cancer patients are in recovery for days, weeks, or even months at a time.  Often they can be too ill to read or watch TV.  A window-mounted bird feeder brings the power of nature right to your loved one while they recover, providing a welcome break from staring at walls and ceilings. Remember to refill the food (included with this bird feeder) when you visit your loved one.

Best items for post-surgery comfort

Staying comfortable is key after surgery, but it is not always easy for your loved one to get there, let alone stay there. These items can help them stay comfortable during everyday activities.

Clothing with drain management

Your loved one may have to wear drainage tubes in the days or weeks following their cancer surgery. Easy-to-wear clothing that has special belts or pockets for managing drainage tubes will be a welcome addition to their everyday wardrobe. This extra-soft, eco-friendly multi-functional robe has an optional belt to help organize drainage tubes. You can also opt for shirts or cover-ups that have similar supportive features.

Supportive briefs

Did you know wearing compression undergarments after abdominal surgery can speed recovery by supporting weakened muscles, reducing swelling and protecting incision sites? While it may be less glamorous than a robe or shirt, briefs to hold ostomy bags are necessary parts of your loved one’s recovery. The right super-soft, seam-free and tag-free briefs can ensure your loved one avoids embarrassing leaks, and dare we say, can even bring some style and flair to a decidedly unsexy item.

Shower shirts

Surgery sites need to be protected from moisture for several days after a procedure.  Your loved one doesn’t have to opt for trash bags or plastic wrap to keep these sites dry. Include a shower shirt in your post-surgery care package that allows your loved one to shower with dignity while keeping incision sites free of moisture. Be sure to order it so it arrives before your loved one’s surgery so they can put it to use right after the procedure.

“Surgical wounds need to stay dry to speed healing, but taking a shower after many hours in bed is refreshing and helped me feel less sick. Many of us prefer a shower, and some of us don’t have a bathtub, which makes this post-surgery shower shirt not only extremely helpful, but extra convenient.” –Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together Founder/Patient

Gift sets for specific procedures

If your loved one underwent a specific procedure, we offer gift sets tailored to these surgeries that take the guesswork out of creating a new post-surgery care package. Explore the breast surgery gift set, the mastectomy gift box, and other options on the Mend Together shop.

Supporting your loved one during recovery

A post-surgery care package shows a loved one that you have thoughtfully considered their needs. As you consider gifts, think about how the items you include can help speed healing. Whether that’s through pain management products, comfortable clothing, or guided meditations to help them cope on difficult days, each item should have a purposeful role in your loved one’s recovery. Help your loved one set up a Gift & Donation Registry today.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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25+ Great Gifts for Male Cancer Patients

When your family member, spouse, or friend is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to know what to do or say. You may think that gifts for male cancer patients can be hard to think of, but they can be a great way to lift spirits and promote physical and emotional well-being. We at Mend Together are here to help you find the perfect gift for your loved one going through cancer. Here are our top 25+ gifts for male cancer patients that would be appreciated in any cancer care package.

What are good gifts for male cancer patients?

Think beyond soft socks and water bottles. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Think practical. Flowers and crossword puzzles are nice gestures, but your loved one best benefits from gifts that help manage cancer symptoms and brutal treatment side effects. Think about gifting items that can help with nausea or pain management, improve mental health, or even organic superfoods that can support healing through nutrition. 
  • Consider the type of cancer and course of treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery each have their own side effects. Similarly, your loved one’s diagnosis can have a profound effect on their needs. Ask which treatments they are undergoing and tailor your gift choices to support those needs.
  • Don’t forget your loved one’s mental health. Your loved one’s physical needs and mental needs should be treated with equal weight. Gifts that can help them cope with their diagnosis and treatment — or simply help them take their mind off things — will go a long way.

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25 great cancer gifts for him

If you are at a loss for what to give your loved one facing cancer, here are our favorite gift ideas, informed by cancer patients who have been there and used these items during treatment.

Skincare Products

  • Why we Love it: Burn sprays are an effective way to provide relief after radiation without further irritating skin that is tender to the touch. Creams and salves work wonders to soothe dry, scarred, and inflamed skin that accompanies cancer treatments. Lip balm is also a nice touch for those spending time in the dry air at a treatment center.
  • What to look for: Avoid products with ingredients, such as fragrances, that can cause flare-ups. Keeping your creams and sprays refrigerated in between applications can provide a much-needed cooling effect.
  • Mend Together favorites: Gentle Burn Recovery Spray, Radiation Burn Cream, All-Natural Burn, and Scar Salve

Stress and breath tracker

  • Why we love it:  The stress of treatments can affect your loved one’s physical and mental health. Understanding what triggers stress is key to managing it. A digital tracker measures breath — a major indicator of stress — and uses the data to help your loved one better identify when stress is on the rise, as well as teach behavioral changes to bring breathing rates back down.
  • What to look for: There is no shortage of gadgets out there purported to improve mental health. Any gift you buy should be recommended by a physician, so you know with certainty that it can help with relaxation.
  • Mend Together favorites:

“Wearing this device reminds me  I need to take deep breaths, get up from a sedentary position now and then and track how much activity I’ve had on a busy day. And I personally love the natural stone-style design.”

– Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together Founder/2x cancer “endure-er”

Seamless Tagless Hats

  • Why we love it: Comfortable hats are a great gift for cancer patients. Chemotherapy and radiation can make skin extra sensitive. As hair loss is one of the common effects of cancer treatments, many people with cancer feel cold at bedtime.
  • What to look for: Choose a hat made from organic fabrics that encourages breathability.  Ultra-soft hats without seams and tags will not rub against sensitive skin.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Non-toxic hair regrowth kit for men

  • Why we love it: This thoughtful gift is an excellent addition to a chemo care package, hair regrowth products can help accelerate recovery from thinning hair or hair loss due to chemo or radiation.
  • What to look for: Make sure the products you buy do not introduce more harsh toxins into your loved one’s system. Look for a natural product that has been proven effective, and more importantly, used by other cancer patients experiencing hair loss or thinning hair.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Laptop radiation shield

  • Why we love it: Your loved one is likely accessing their laptop from bed for a long period of time during treatment. This ongoing and close exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation can be harmful, exacerbating headache or abdominal pain.
  • What to look for: Before purchasing a laptop radiation shield as a cancer gift, check that it has been thoroughly tested and verified by an FCC-certified lab so you know the product you are buying genuinely and effectively blocks EMF radiation.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Radiation blocking headphones

  • Why we love it: Cancer treatments can make our bodies more sensitive to radiation from technical devices, including cell phones.  Radiation-blocking headphones minimize damage and pain from device use. This gift is a great addition to a chemo care package, so your loved one can listen to music during treatment.
  • What to look for: Look for headphones that use hollow air tubes to deliver sound instead of wires that can transmit harmful EMF radiation.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Erectile Dysfunction products

  • Why we love them: Erection rings and pumps can help your husband or romantic partner regain intimacy while undergoing or after cancer treatments that can have a dampening effect on their sex life.
  • What to look for: Many men spend hundreds of dollars on erectile dysfunction treatments after cancer treatment is complete, just to find that the products are ineffective. Look for non-invasive products available at accessible price points that are recommended by physicians for an assurance that they may work.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Reads for re-orientating after cancer


  • Why we love it: Essential oils can help your loved one with insomnia — a common side effect of cancer treatments.
  • What to look for: Not all essential oils are created equal. Ensure that the product you buy is pure and does not contain artificial ingredients or toxins. Include a diffuser so your loved one can put the gift to use right away.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Herbal teas

  • Why we love it: The right blend of herbal teas can help soothe treatment-related side effects like anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and fatigue.
  • What to look for: Make sure the herbal tea you select is organic. Take your gift a step further: include a tea pitcher so your loved one can brew their new tea right away!
  • Mend Together favorites:

Bird feeders

  • Why we love it: While it may sound strange at first, a bird feeder is an excellent way for your loved one to connect with nature and pass the time after surgery. Bird feeders bring the power of nature right to your loved one’s window while providing a welcome break from staring at the same walls.
  • What to look for: Bird feeders come in many styles, including window-mounted and pole-mounted ones. Look for a model that has been recommended by the National Audobon Society, which field tests bird feeders for quality. Select the bird feeder that works best with the room your loved one spends the most time in, whether that’s one attached to a second-floor window or installed right outside the first floor.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Healthy and healing foods

  • Why we love it: Your loved one’s diet holds the key to healing. Whole, healthy foods that promote well-being and reduce exposure to inflammation-causing compounds help support and nourish your loved one from the inside, out. Healthy recipes also present an opportunity for your loved one to enjoy his favorite foods with a healing twist.
  • What to look for: First and foremost, make sure all products are organic. Scan labels for additives, chemicals, or toxins that 
  • Mend Together favorites:

Sleep meditation light

  • Why we love it: Cancer pain and treatment side effects can severely interrupt your loved one’s sleep for an extended period. A sleep meditation light projects a halo of light onto the ceiling, encouraging your loved one to synchronize their breath with the light and help relax their mind for sleep.
  • What to look for: With so many sleep-better products out there, insight from people who have “been there” is essential. Look for an item that’s designed by insomniacs, for insomniacs.
  • Mend Together favorites:

Gifts for male cancer patients that uplift mind and body

Whether your loved one is undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer or recovering from an ostomy, these gifts for male cancer patients can help as they continue to live with their cancer diagnosis and ongoing treatment. A gift not only signals that you are thinking about them, but a thoughtful and useful gift demonstrates that you are thinking of their needs during this difficult time in their lives. Personalize your gift with a handwritten note.

Mend Together’s shop is stocked with items that have been vetted by our board of medical advisors and have glowing reviews from patients who found comfort and healing in these gifts. Browse the Mend Together shop to find the perfect fit for your loved one’s healing process.

Stella Morrison is an award-winning journalist who partners with mission-driven companies to share their stories. She is based in New York City.

Information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare team for advice tailored to your personal diagnosis and treatment.

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10 Chemo Care Package Ideas for Your Loved One

10 chemo care package ideas for your loved one

Flowers are lovely, but they can only do so much for a loved one going through chemo treatments (and depending on the diagnosis and treatment, flowers could even be harmful). However, a chemo care package can be a practical or unexpected gift.

Either way, one can help make life easier for your loved one as they navigate the day-to-day challenges of chemotherapy infusions. We will guide you through how to select items for your chemo care package and suggest gifts that show your loved one you care about what they are going through.

What do you need to know before putting together a chemo care package?

No two chemo treatment paths are alike. Your loved one’s course is key to building a practical and thoughtful chemo care gift basket. For example, side effects like nausea and dry mouth are common, so products aimed at alleviating those symptoms are welcome. It’s important that these items don’t contain sugar and fillers that could be an unhealthy addition to a cancer patient’s diet. 

Don’t forget that cancer care doesn’t end with managing physical symptoms and side effects: mental health is crucial, too. Fortunately, meditation and yoga are excellent tools for managing stress and anxiety, so books, audio guidance, or a subscription to an app or video channel could be gifts that keep on giving. Personal care products for fragile hair, skin, and nails are great for mental health, helping your loved one feel better after life-altering treatments. 

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What do you put in a chemo care package?

Are you are unsure what to include in a chemo care package for a loved one? Here are 10 chemo care package gift ideas recommended by healthcare professionals and cancer survivors:

1. Dry mouth mints

  • Why we love them: Dry mouth is a difficult side effect that can range from mild inconvenience to desert-like dryness. Whether in a disc or spray format, these saliva stimulants can keep your loved one more comfortable.
  • What to look for: Include a few brands or formulations in your gift basket. Your loved one may find that one is better for them than another, and this gives them the chance to compare options. You should also avoid any products with added sugars or artificial ingredients.
  • Mend Together favorites:

2. Nail care products 

  • Why we love them: When someone is undergoing chemo, physical reminders of their situation (like fragile or peeling nails) can be disheartening. Nail care products can address these symptoms and provide an opportunity for gentle self-care.
  • What to look for: Toxins and chemicals included in many standard nail polishes can do greater damage to your loved one’s nails. Read ingredients carefully, and opt for natural formulations where possible.
  • Mend Together favorites:

3. Comfortable and accessible clothes

4. PICC line covers

  • Why we love them: Patients are often told to use a cut tube sock to cover their PICC — (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) lines, which is used to provide long-term treatment to a patient using a large vein. Unsurprisingly, nobody wants to walk around with a sock on their arm. A fashion-forward PICC line cover (one that’s made for covering arms, not legs) helps keep PICC from pulling, which can be painful. Proper PICC line covers take both looks and functionality into account.
  • What to look for: Check the fiber makeup of the PICC line cover for moisture-absorbing materials and antimicrobial treatments to help keep out germs. Look for the right size, too: ensure that the item you’re putting in the chemo care package isn’t too big or too small for your loved one.
  • Mend Together favorite:

5. Organic hair care products

  • Why we love them: Hair loss is one of the most visible and emotionally devastating side effects of chemotherapy. New hair growth is a symbol of recovery, and helping a loved one accelerate their hair regrowth can boost their self-esteem.
  • What to look for: Many hair care products contain toxins that can further drag down a suppressed immune system. Make sure the products in your chemo care package are natural and organic — and don’t include irritating, harsh chemicals.
  • Mend Together favorites:

6. Seamless, ultra-soft hats

  • Why we love them: Hair loss means skin that’s not normally exposed to the elements is now bare. A comfortable head covering is not only practical, but can help hide thinning hair or a bald head.
  • What to look for: Softness is first and foremost. As your loved one may be more sensory-averse than usual, include hats in your care package that don’t have seams or tags that could rub uncomfortably. Check for breathable 100% cotton. Don’t forget that personality is important: pick something they’ll actually want to wear.
  • Mend Together favorites:

7. Radiation-blocking laptop shields

  • Why we love them: Many people going through treatments are accessing their laptops from bed, often for long periods of time. Ongoing, close exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation that emits from laptops (and other electronics) can trigger headaches and abdominal pain. This is a welcome gift whether your friend is working from home or simply passing time online.
  • What to look for: Check for lab tests that verify the shield’s quality and efficacy to ensure that you’re buying a genuine product that’s been proven to block EMF radiation.
  • Mend Together favorites:

“After I started using this laptop shield, my pain started to subside. My abdominal pain was a big wake up call for me to the harmful effects of EMF.” Lisa Lefebvre, Mend Together Founder and two time cancer “endure-er”

8. Anti-nausea support

  • Why we love it: While anti-nausea medications are becoming more effective, nausea and chemotherapy still often go hand-in-hand. All-natural anti-nausea lozenges and drops can help curb this unpleasant chemo side effect without introducing additional toxins into the body.
  • What to look for: Turn to herbs and herbal tea to help quell nausea. For centuries, herbal medicine has used ginger for its anti-nausea properties, and its ancient roots stand true today. A 2016 study published in Integrative Medicine Insights found that ginger is an “effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting and is safe.” Ginger is also a celebrated antioxidant, helping boost immunity and protect your loved one against harmful toxins. In addition to dry mouth mints, your loved one may find that some anti-nausea products are more helpful than others, so consider including several formulations and brands in your chemo care package.
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9. Guided meditation 

  • Why we love it: Staying positive can be a difficult task while undergoing cancer treatment. Guided meditation can help declutter an anxious mind, visualize healing, and help your loved one improve their mental health.
  • What to look for: There’s no shortage of meditation guides, each of which has a clearly-defined end goal. Look for one that’s tailored to cancer patients in treatment and recovery. Also, you might also want to select ones designed to help your loved one manage symptoms, such as guided meditations for sleeping.
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10. Neuropathy creams

  • Why we love them: Some chemotherapy drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to nerves resulting in symptoms like burning, stinging, or pins and needles. Neuropathy is notoriously difficult to treat and is often unresponsive to typical pain medications.
  • What to look for: Unscented, toxin-free creams can help manage these painful symptoms. Tried and true formulas should rise to the top of your list. If a formula is patented, free of abrasive add-ons like menthol, and has rave reviews from others undergoing chemotherapy, it’ll make a great addition to your chemo care package. Just like other topical products included in this guide, make sure the cream doesn’t contain any fragrance.
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Chemo care packages for total well-being

Your loved one undergoing chemo