There are so many things going on in the life of a cancer patient and of those around them. It can be physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially exhausting. When they and their loved ones are going through such a trying time, sometimes the littlest thing can bring the greatest joy.
Having a hard time thinking of what to put into a cancer care package? Here are 100 care package ideas for cancer patients, their loved ones, and cancer survivors.
Browse a specific category by clicking on any of the quick links below:
- Care Package Ideas for Cancer Patients
- Food Ideas for Cancer Care Package
- Service Ideas for Cancer Care Package
- Cancer Care Package Ideas for Their Loved One
- Care Package Ideas for Kids
1. Soft hats: Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, and the skin of cancer patients is often very sensitive, so hats made of soft yarn are ideal. Chemo infusion rooms are also kept quite cold, and the treatment itself can make patients sensitive to the cold.
2. Wigs: A gift card is best, so your friend or family member can try on and pick out their own.
3. Skin Care Products: Between treatments, dehydration, and cold, dry medical settings, the skin of a cancer patient needs lots of TLC. Make sure you choose all-natural products made for sensitive skin.
4. Pretty Scarves: They can be used as a head wrap or just to stay warm, and can come in many styles, materials, and colors. Better yet, make one yourself.
5. Books: Your loved one will need a lot of downtime, so if they love to read, help them get away for a while with some good books
6. Movies: Put together a basket of DVDs with some movie treats. New or used, it all works, and you can even set up a movie “exchange” and bring them different movies each week. Remember to check your library.
7. Puzzle Books: Sudoku, crossword, word search, or a combination of them all, puzzle books can help pass the time and keep the brain active.
8. Coloring Books: Coloring can be very therapeutic, so this is a great idea for cancer patients of any age.
9. Gas Cards: Until you are making repeated trips to the oncologist and other medical appointments, you do not realize how big of a bite the increased gas cost will take out of your budget. Gas cards are glorious for cancer patients and their loved ones who help with transportation.
10. Summer Hats: Soft hats for winter are important, and nice cool hats that are wide-brimmed are also essential in the summer months. As we’ve mentioned, treatment can make cancer patients’ skin very sensitive to the sun, so they must stay covered.
11. Sunscreen: Along those same lines, some good all-natural sunscreen for sensitive skin is a great cancer care package idea.
12. Travel Blankets: Small, soft, cozy blankets can keep them warm during treatment and bring comfort during down times and when they need rest.
13. Small Storage Container Set: Little plastic cups or bowls may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s great as a care package idea for cancer patients. Containers with screw tops work best, and they can use them for portion-sizing, mixing fruits, nuts, and other snacks, and can be tucked in anywhere in a bag or coat pocket.
14. Journal: Your friend is going through so much, and it may be helpful to write some of it down. This is an epic journey, one that they may not be ready to share as it is happening, but will later as an illustration that everyone is strong and anything can be beaten.
15. Nice Pen: Seems simple, right? But how many times have you been at the bank or grocery store and signed something, then said, “This is a really nice pen.” The smooth lines can be soothing.
16. Stuffed Animal: Young or old, rich or poor, male or female, almost everyone is comforted by a soft stuffed animal.
17. A Story Starring Them: If you want to have some fun, write a story or fairy tale with them in the leading role as the hero or heroine. It can tell about something you shared in the past, something you will do in the future, or be completely made up and reflect the star you see in that person.
18. Overnight Stay: A story can help them figuratively escape, but a nice night in a hotel suite can literally allow them to get away.
19. Bath Bombs: This will certainly depend on the person, but if they like taking baths, put together some bath bombs in a variety of colors and fragrances. Try to keep the fragrance subtle, as they can be very sensitive to aromas.
20. Small Token: Nothing big, just a nice bracelet, a figurine, a coin, something that will remind them they are loved each time they look at it.
21. Comfies: We all need comfy clothes when we don’t feel good. Put together some nice sweats or yoga pants, a comfy hoodie, and some fuzzy socks.
22. Travel Games: Sure, you can play games with each other on a device, but sometimes it’s more fun to have a real (granted small) checkerboard, backgammon game, or Scrabble to play on and get you through those wait times.
23. Sleep Mask: It is a recurring theme that there’s a lot of wait time when someone is going through cancer treatment. Waiting rooms, chemo infusion rooms, the drive back and forth – these can all be opportunities for them to grab some much-needed sleep, and a sleep mask can help. A sleep mask weighted with beads or beans is not only more comforting, it can also be put in the fridge to cool, or warmed in the microwave.
24. Good Headphones: Music can be so soothing for many people, so a pair of quality, comfortable, safe headphones is a wonderful idea for a cancer care package.
25. Book of Jokes: Laughter is the best medicine. You can keep each other’s minds off of the serious matter at hand with some silly jokes. And laughter is infectious – see if you can get the entire waiting room laughing with you!
26. Lips: Along with sensitive skin, lips can get dry and cracked. Set them up with some great hemp lip balm. For the ladies, Burt’s Bees has extraordinary tinted lip balm that provides great color and a soothing, cooling tingle.
27. Personalized Water Bottle: You can help them stay hydrated with a quality stainless steel bottle and make sure no one takes it by personalizing it for them.
28. Neck Pillow: Put this together with #23, the sleep mask, to help them catch a couple winks whenever they can and be more comfortable during those waiting periods.
29. Panic Pete: It doesn’t have to be a Panic Pete (though he will make people laugh), but a stress ball can be very helpful during some of the poking and prodding that occurs throughout treatment.
30. Cooling Towels: Chemo patients can have difficulty regulating temperature, so cooling towels bring relief during warm weather or hot flashes.
31. Ear Plugs: Adding ear plugs to a cancer care package will help block out disturbing noises and get some precious sleep whenever and wherever possible.
32. Fragrance-Free All-Natural Soaps: Strong fragrances can overwhelm an already sensitive system, so fragrance-free soaps and other bathing products help.
33. Hand Sanitizer: They will need this in bulk, thanks to a suppressed immune system.
34. Soft Bedding: Silk or fleece, extra comfort on sensitive skin. Silk will also feel cool in the summer and fleece is comfortingly warm for winter.
35. Concert Tickets: Escape it all with a night of music from some of their favorite musicians.
36. Theater Tickets: Movie or plays, theater tickets are a great way to escape through the beauty of creativity.
37. Flip-flops and Sunglasses: Flip-flops are easy to slip on and off, so they are convenient and comfortable. Put them together with sunglasses, a cool summer hat, and some sunscreen, and make a beach day of it.
38. Cancer Cookbooks: Share recipe ideas from the many cancer-fighting cookbooks, and then spend some time in the kitchen together.
39. Tickets to a Comedy Show: Laughing can increase endorphins and make everyone feel a little bit better. There are even comedians who make fun of their own cancer, so you can laugh with them.
40. Inspirational Magnets: You can give them a daily dose of confidence and strength with inspirational quotes they can stick to their fridge, work area, cupboards, or wherever they need a reminder of the love that surrounds them.
41. Medical Alert Jewelry: Med-alert bracelets and necklaces are very important in emergency situations.
42. Back Scratcher: Relief and pleasure, a back scratcher can help in so many ways.
Food Ideas for Cancer Care Package
43. Ginger Snacks: Ginger snaps, ginger chews, hard candies, ginger tea, ginger ale – ginger helps to relieve nausea. (Make sure the ginger ale is in plastic or glass. Chemo makes patients sensitive to the metal taste of cans.)
44. Restaurant Gift Cards: Most cancer patients continue to live their daily life, going to work and taking care of the kids between treatments, and that can wear them out. Give them a bouquet of restaurant gift cards to make meals a lot less hassle.
45. Nuts: These organic treats help mend the body with their protein-packed power and healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and also have marvelous antioxidant properties.
46. Nutritional Drinks: Shakes like Ensure and Boost are not only great sources of vitamins and minerals, but also provides fiber and protein. They are easier on the stomach and cancer patients can sip on them to get valuable nutrition.
47. Electrolyte Replacement: Put together a box of different flavored athletic drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, or give them electrolyte powders or drops that they can use in water or any drink that they prefer.
48. Hard Candies: Treatment can give cancer patients a very dry mouth, and not feeling so good after treatment can make them dehydrated. Pain and other medications can also give them a very dry mouth, so hard candies are comforting. Look into ones that are supplemented with Vitamin C for a little extra nutrition. Soothease drops are made for chemotherapy patients to help with the change of taste and mouth sores.
49. Freezer Pops: Popsicles are great when someone is a bit queasy after chemo, and oftentimes the harsh therapy can result in painful mouth sores. In this case, you may want to stay away from all-natural juice pops, because any acid or citrus may be more irritating. Good ol’ grape, cherry, and blue raspberry should do the trick.
50. Selection of Tea: Ginger tea and chamomile are some great choices, along with lavender and lemon zinger.
51. Favorite Foods Favor: If there is something you know that they really like and will help them feel better, make it or take it.
52. Wine: Not only is it enjoyable and relaxing, there is research that indicates that red wine has cancer-fighting antioxidants.
53. Uber Eats Gift Card: When a tough day, chemo treatment, or just life in general has a cancer patient worn down, Uber Eats can bring them the food they want and need.
54. Dried Fruits: Dried fruit can pack an energy punch in a little package. Helpful when a cancer patient is feeling queasy, but still needs to get sufficient caloric intake.
55. High-Fiber Snacks: Chemo can really mess up the digestive system, so yummy high-fiber snacks make a great gift in a care package for cancer patients.
56. Gourmet Soup: When someone feels under the weather, a hot bowl of soup can be just what the doctor ordered.
Service Ideas for Cancer Care Package
57. House Cleaning Service: Set up a cleaning person to come in on a schedule that works for the cancer patient.
58. Dog Walking/Pet Care Service: If the cancer warrior has pets that need tending, hire a service to help on a set schedule or as needed.
59. Lawn Care: Cancer patients need to concentrate their psychic energy on themselves and healing, not worrying about how the lawn is going to get mowed. This will ease that burden.
60. Grocery Store Delivery Service: Some stores will deliver, but there is a fee. Cover the delivery fee for them.
61. Acupuncture/Acupressure Gift Card: Acupuncture and acupressure can help with the outlying effects of cancer and its treatment: pain, restlessness, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few.
62. Play Store/Audiobook Credits: Give them gift cards that they can use to get apps for things like books, games, meditation, motivational products, yoga instruction, and health and wellness lectures.
63. Netflix/HULU/Streaming Subscription: Set them up for some TV and movie viewing.
64. Magazine Subscription: While there is a lot of waiting, there is also a lot of hopping from one place to another, so magazines can be great for short reads that can easily be put down and picked back up.
65. Music Playlist: Along with the headphones, forward them a playlist that you put together just for them.
66. DIY Coupon Book: What can you help with? Grocery shopping? Mani/pedi? Rearrange the furniture to get some feng shui going? Put together your own coupon book of things you can help with, and that they can use on their schedule.
67. Salon Gift Certificate: Most people feel good after a little pampering and looking good. Give them a day of hairstyle and make-up, and maybe the nails too. Perhaps you can find a salon that specializes in maintaining and styling wigs as an added bonus.
68. Love Notes: Not gushy-smushy letters, but motivational strengthening notes that they can open when they need them.
69. Gift Certificate to Attend a Health and Wellness or Cancer Awareness Conference: This gift can go a long way in understanding the disease and making informed decisions, and you can attend the conference with them.
70. CSA Subscription: This could go under both services and food. A membership with a Community Supported Agriculture can provide weekly produce that is fresh. Choose an organic grower for optimal health benefits.
71. Art Therapy Classes: They can fight chemo brain with art therapy while they also elevate their mood and lose themselves in creativity time.
72. Health Club Membership: A gift card for time at a health club can be beneficial on so many levels. Chat with staff to find out if they have a cancer expert on staff, or any programs that are geared to current patients and cancer survivors.
73.Water Aerobics Certificate: When chemo is making muscles and joints achy and weak, water aerobics can help maintain strength through the buoyancy of water.
74. Beauty Package Spa Day: Pamper them inside and out with a day at the spa that includes a healthy organic lunch. Focus on skin care services, and ask if they have suggestions for cancer patients.
75. Beach Trip: Get them excited about the beach with a basket of gifts, and then get some Vitamin D, relaxation, and quality time together with a day at the beach. Plus, check out our Cancer Wellness Retreats for some extra relaxation and spoiling.
76. Earthing Sessions: The beach is an excellent way to enhance healing through earthing, but it can also be accomplished with any contact with the earth – grass, soil, even the cement of a back patio, as long as those bare feet are touching the ground.
77. Salsa Lessons: Hot music and sexy moves make salsa lessons fun and is a great workout.
78. Zumba Classes: Zumba classes are fun and exciting which might be a great experience.
79. Cooking for Cancer Classes: Check out your local community colleges and cooking schools for instructional time on preparing meals for cancer patients, or just spend some time with them watching cancer cooking shows on YouTube and then help them make some meals.
80. Enrollment In Yoga Classes: Yoga is the full package of strength, flexibility, wellness, and meditation. Consider classes outside the home, or an app or video they can use at home.
81. Meditation Application/Subscription: There are a number of great meditation apps available for devices.
82. Massage Gift Certificate: Massage is wonderful to ease aching muscles and help release and flush toxins from the body through proper hydration.
83. CBD/Medical Marijuana Information: If it is legal in their area, provide information about CBD/THC use with cancer patients, as well as instructions on how to get authorized and locations where they can meet with a medical marijuana practitioner.
84. CBD Oil Gift Card: Since it’s not covered by any insurance, it can be costly out-of-pocket, so a gift card can help them enjoy the benefits it can provide like fighting nausea and easing anxiety.
85. Snow Removal: Even more difficult than lawn care in summer is snow removal in the winter. Get them set up with someone who will take care of this for them.
86. Uber Gift Card: They will have a lot of running around to do, and depending on how they feel, it may be easier to have someone else drive. When a friend or family member is not available, Uber can help out with transportation.
87. Co-op Membership: Cooperatives are great places for all-natural and organic foods and medical treatment alternatives. You might want to pay for their membership, or if they are already a member, get them a gift card.
Cancer Care Package Ideas for Their Loved One
Of course, many of the items already listed are ideal for the loved one of the patient fighting cancer, particularly the main caregiver. Travel blankets, travel mugs, convenient snacks, new slippers, and so much more can help keep them healthy and well. In addition to the ideas above, here’s a great package idea for the loved one of a cancer patient:
88. Music Subscription: Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Amazon Unlimited, and so many more can provide access to millions of songs, lectures, comedy specials, concerts, and sporting events.
89. Brochures/Books About Specific Cancer and Cancer in General: The person by their side is going to have just as many questions, so put together a box or envelope that contains pamphlets that explain what is happening, what to expect, alternative treatments, etc.
Care Package Ideas for Kids
90. Children’s Books: Keep them entertained and occupied and their minds off of the situation at hand. There are even books for children who are patients and those whose parent is going through treatment.
91. Crayons and Coloring Books: These are fun, relaxing, and therapeutic for people of all ages.
92. Sticker Books: Stickers can be a good reward for kiddos who behave as they wait while Mom or Dad are having treatment.
93. Small Handheld Games: You can keep them from staring at a device all day with small games like Bop-It!, Amaze, and Mad Libs.
94. Card Games: Pass the time with classics like Uno, Skip-Bo, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, and Go Fish. Spot it! and Rat-a-Tat Cat are loads of fun too!
95. Packaged Snacks: Granola bars, goldfish crackers, beef jerky, fruit roll-ups – package snacks can be a lifesaver for a caregiver with a hungry child stuck in a waiting room. Healthy choices are available.
96. Own Hand Sanitizer with Holder: Kids can get into everything, so they will need to learn to use hand sanitizer frequently when a parent is going through chemo. Make them feel special by getting them a small hand sanitizer holder that is personalized or has a fancy design.
97. Doctor & Nurse Kit: Whether they are the patient or watching a parent go through different procedures, you can help them feel less afraid by letting them play with doctor and nurse toys.
98. Travel Bed: This inflatable leg rest can turn any office chair into a comfortable sleeping area for kids.
99. Play Dates for Kids: Set up a schedule of play dates that can synch with treatment schedules or give the patient or caregiver a day to themselves. Kids who are going through treatment will love play dates as well, so they don’t feel isolated and different.
100. Soft Blankie: Anyone can benefit from the comfort of a soft blanket, but for kids in particular, it can help ease anxiety in a new situation
While all of these are amazing care package ideas for cancer patients and their loved ones that will certainly brighten anyone’s day, nothing can take the place of the love and support of family and friends. A blend of time and caring is the best cancer care package you can give.