15 Gifts To Give Someone With Breast Cancer

People with breast cancer reveal the best gifts they've ever received—and what's still on their wishlists—so you'll never have to drop off another casserole again.

Portrait of two friends sitting on the floor at home looking at gift
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Gift-giving isn't always the easiest task.

If you know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and you want to give them something that may make this difficult time a little easier, here are a few ideas.

01 of 15

Food Delivery Service Subscription

It's normal to start thinking of your most comforting casserole recipes to drop off at the home of someone with breast cancer, but "people do not realize that a lot of patients may have foods that they cannot eat," said Rebecca Scheinkman, who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2014.

"For example, I cannot eat dairy products while on one of my treatments. A great gift I received was a gift card to an online food delivery service, [which] allowed me to pick out my own food based on what I could handle eating."

So instead of cooking, try gifting meal kits for perfectly portioned ingredients, which take the brainpower out of meal prep. Or a gift card to an online delivery service that partners with local restaurants.

02 of 15

Paper Products

You can put together packages of paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, napkins, cups, and even garbage bags for friends undergoing breast cancer treatment, so they don't have to think about these simple necessities.

Even plastic spoons and forks could come in handy. Especially since some people going through chemo might be bothered by a metallic taste, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. A metallic taste could be made worse by using regular utensils.

03 of 15

Streaming Service Subscription

People with breast cancer can often use a distraction, whether it's during chemotherapy sessions or while recuperating from treatment at home—or even just for some family time. With any streaming subscription, you can watch a variety of tv shows, movies, or documentaries. Streaming services make for a great distraction or a way to spend time with your loved ones.

04 of 15

Spa Day

A trip to the spa can be just the relaxing experience your loved one needs. You can relieve their stress with a simple yet thoughtful gift. Whether you take them out for a mani-pedi, a massage, or a facial—they're sure to leave feeling refreshed and relaxed.

05 of 15

Their Very Own Hospital Gown

There are few things as impersonal as a hospital gown—and is it just us, or do they never fit? A personal robe could allow people with breast cancer to feel just a bit more like themselves during treatment. Something pretty, soft, and in a fun pattern is just a small way for them to feel like themselves during their hospital stay.

06 of 15

Satin Pajamas

Button-up pajamas are a must after breast cancer surgery, when it can be extremely painful to lift your arms afterward. It allows for easy movement, and the silky satin material will feel luxurious.

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A Cancer-Specific Cookbook

"I was already a very healthy person, but I wanted to learn how to make even healthier decisions after I was diagnosed," said San Diego-based Sandy Hanshaw. Hanshaw was 46 years old when diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and later underwent a single mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

"I got a lot of great cookbooks that are about being smart about what you're putting into your body." There are plenty of cookbooks for healthy meals, but there are also cookbooks specifically written for people with cancer.

08 of 15

A Comfy Sweatshirt With a Built-in Surgical Drain

Some people with breast cancer leave the hospital after surgery with surgical drains, which help prevent fluid from building up around incisions, according to The American Society of Breast Surgeons Foundation. A drain is made up of a rubber tube that is inserted into the patient's incision and a squeezable bulb connected to it.

You can purchase short- and long-sleeve zip-up sweatshirts with concealed inner pockets to hold the drains. This ensures they won't get caught on anything or accidentally tugged, which can seriously hurt.

09 of 15

A Big, Comfy Shawl

Chemotherapy and radiation facilities are notorious for being cold. A blanket or a shawl can help keep someone warm and cozy during treatment, and they aren't too big to fold up and toss in a bag. It might even feel more comforting than asking for a blanket at the facility.

10 of 15

A Cute, Cozy Scarf

"Constant doctor's appointments, treatments, dealing with insurance, coping with side effects, all in addition to the 'typical' everyday stressors like family and work takes its toll," said New York City-based Scheinkman, who suggested buying someone anything that can help them relax.

For example, Scheinkman noted that a personal de-stressor is wrapping up in a comfy scarf, especially in colder weather.

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A Cancer Planner

Just a few months after diagnosis, Hanshaw and her husband created Bike for Boobs, a local charity cycling event that raises money for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.

You can help a friend take some of the burden off with a planner to keep track of appointments and other crucial information all in one place.

A journal could also be a good idea. "I had never been a diary writer, but cancer is life-changing," Hanshaw said. "Someone gave me a diary, and writing in it was very therapeutic. I still have it—it reminds me of what I have to be grateful for every day."

12 of 15

Lip Balm

Hanshaw didn't experience too many life-altering side effects others often experience from chemotherapy or radiation, but dry lips were a challenge. Friends would send lotions or lip balms from Lindi Skin, which has a line of products specifically for people going through chemotherapy and another for people going through radiation treatment.

"I didn't even know about these products pre-cancer, but my friends would research and send me care packages," Hanshaw said. The products are made with antimicrobial and antifungal ingredients to help protect the skin while still being gentle enough for sensitive skin irritated by treatment.

13 of 15

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important for everyone. But for people with cancer, it's a must. Dehydration is often a side effect of chemotherapy, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. By gifting a water bottle, you are not only showing your loved one that you care, but you are making sure they are staying hydrated too.

"I take so many pills, and staying hydrated is recommended for many cancer patients' overall health while going through treatment," Scheinkman said. "I love S'well water bottles; they are really cute, easy to drink out of, keep water cold all day, and don't spill in my purse!"

14 of 15

A Comfy Beanie

Cancer treatment can cause hair loss, according to the American Cancer Society. Typically, chemotherapy can damage the hair follicles, which causes them to fall out.

"You wouldn't believe how cold your head gets without hair on it!" Hanshaw said. A comfortable beanie could be just the thing your loved one is looking for. Not every breast cancer patient will lose their hair, but anyone would appreciate a cozy knit hat—especially in the winter.

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Cooling Gloves

Chemotherapy can cause debilitating nerve damage that could leave some people with breast cancer dealing with numbness, tingling, and even difficulty using their hands, according to the American Cancer Society. Wearing cold wraps on the hands and feet may prevent this damage. According to this study from 2017 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who wore frozen gloves and socks showed fewer signs of nerve damage than those who did not.

If there's a special breast cancer patient in your life with chemo ahead, consider gifting a pair of therapeutic gloves—to use with their healthcare provider's approval, of course.

There are quite a few different gifts you may want to give to a loved one who is undergoing breast cancer treatment. Whether it's a robe, spa trip, or lip balm—just the thought alone will show them you are thinking of them during a difficult time.

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