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How to Create a Care Package for Cancer Patients

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. We often get asked what types of items should go in a care package for a loved one with cancer. Candy and moisturizers are common answers that go a long way in helping ease some side effects of cancer treatment. But there are many gifts that can be used to show support. 

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.

Toiletries

  • 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
  • Texts and video calls to let them know you are thinking about them

House help

  • Gift cards to restaurants, meal delivery services, 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 walkways, or offer to help clean their house
  • Offer childcare or pet sitting
    o    This can be especially helpful during appointments or long stays at the hospital.

Cozy Comforts

  • Fuzzy socks and a fleece blanket 
    o    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

Entertainment

  • Books, magazines, puzzles, coloring books, and games can help pass the time during treatment or hospital stays
  • Gift subscriptions to your favorite game, relaxation, or learning app
  • A list of your favorite podcasts, movies, TV shows, or audiobooks
  • Journal or sketchpad and pencils or pens for personal thoughts or drawing  

Edible gifts

  • Lozenges and hard candy to ease a dry mouth
    o    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.”

Visit the Cancer Learning Center
The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center has books and 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 sixth floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute Hospital South to learn more about cancer and how to care for those you love. 

Cancer touches all of us.