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How to create a care package for cancer patients

Aug 06, 2021

Read Time: 3 minutes

Gift basket

Many of us want to help the people we love, especially when they have been diagnosed with an illness. At Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), we often get questions about what types of items should go in a care package for a loved one with cancer.

We’ve created a list of items you may want to include in a care package. Of course, each person is different—there may be something not mentioned here that they would find necessary or comforting. It never hurts to ask if your loved one has anything specific they need, or to talk with their caregiver about what they may find helpful during this time.


  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm and lotion
    • Try to stay clear of fragrances and choose sensitive skin products. Treatment can cause skin irritations for some patients, and fragrances can worsen these symptoms.

Words of encouragement

  • Handwritten cards or letters
  • Inspirational quotes and messages

House help

  • Gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores, and/or gas stations
  • Home-cooked meals that can be frozen and eaten later
    • You might want to check with the caregiver or patient directly for any dietary needs due to medical reasons, treatments, or personal preferences.
  • Mow their lawn, shovel their walks, or offer to help clean their house
  • Offer child care or pet sitting
    • This can be especially helpful during appointments or long stays at the hospital.

Cozy Comforts

  • Fuzzy socks and a fleece blanket
    • These items can help patients feel comfortable and stay warm during hospital stays or chemotherapy treatments.
  • Microwaveable rice pack for hot (or cold) therapy
  • Soft, knit cap to keep the head warm
  • Sleep masks


  • Books, magazines, and games can help pass the time during treatment or hospital stays
  • A list of your favorite podcasts, movies , T.V. shows, or audiobooks
  • Journal for personal thoughts and/or to keep track of treatments and medical notes

Edible gifts

  • Lozenges and hard candy to ease a dry mouth
    • Lemon flavors can help when patients experience a poor, lingering taste from treatment.
  • Ginger chews for an upset stomach
  • Favorite candy or snack

Be there for them

  • One of the most important things you can do is be there for your loved one. Encourage them and offer support however you can.
  • Try offering specific ideas about how you can help. This can be the best gift of all—a specific suggestion might make it easier for them to say “yes.”

The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center has books as well as basic information about how to cope and care for others going through a difficult time. Call one of our Health Educators at 888-424-2100, text us at 801-528-1112, live chat with us, or stop by the 6th floor of the HCI Hospital to learn more about cancer and how to care for those you love.

Cancer touches all of us.