Are you looking for ideas of what to put in a chemo care package for a cancer patient?
Being diagnosed with cancer is such an overwhelming feeling, and the support of friends and family is super important during this difficult time.
A really great friend of mine put together a chemo care package for me prior to my first chemo treatment.
In this post, I will detail products that are really useful for those going through chemotherapy!
(Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Chemo Care Package Ideas
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, shortly after having my second child. After undergoing a double mastectomy, my medical oncologist recommended really aggressive chemotherapy for further treatment.
I ended up receiving chemotherapy for six months total: 4 rounds of AC chemo followed by 12 weeks of Taxol. Since each chemo session took about 3-4 hours, I spent quite a lot of time in the infusion center.
These are the items I found most useful during my six months of treatment.
1. Hand Sanitizing Wipes
In today’s climate I wouldn’t travel anywhere without disinfectant wipes. I was especially cautious of germs when I was going through chemo.
Chemotherapy patients have a compromised immune system, so they have to be extra careful around other people and germs. I went through treatment during flu season, which added a whole other layer of stress onto my chemotherapy.
I recommend wiping down the chemo chair and tables prior to beginning eachtreatment. The infusion center can be really busy with patients, and the nurses may not always have the time to do a completely thorough job.
Therefore, sanitizing EVERYTHING is not a bad idea.
Chemo can cause your skin to become really sensitive and extremely dry. I ended up getting skin rashes and eczema as side effects to treatment. Plus, the increased use of sanitizer and wipes can irritate the skin even more.
So, moisturizing lotion would be an easy item to add to a chemo care package. I recommend getting one that is fragrance free and made for sensitive skin.
3. Lip Balm
As mentioned above, chemo can cause dry skin. This includes your lips. I always kept chapstick with me in my chemo bag to help soothe and moisturize.
I would try to stick to an all natural brand like Burt’s Bees Wax since chemicals and fragrances can really irritate the skin during chemo.
The infusion center usually placed a box of tissues on the table beside my chemo chair. Since I am a bit of a germaphobe, I preferred having my own packet in my chemo bag.
The Kleenex brand tissues I brought were much softer than the ones the hospital provided. Chemo can cause a runny nose and even nose bleeds, so I always used tissues during treatment.
Chemo can really affect your appetite, so I was picky about what snacks I could eat. Throughout my six months of chemotherapy treatment, I tended to lean toward bland foods and lots of cheese.
A variety of snack foods would be a great addition to a chemo care package. I would just try to stay away from anything too spicy or flavorful to help eliminate mouth sores and nausea.
My go-to snack during treatment was White Cheddar Cheetos. They had enough flavor to satisfy my taste buds, but they weren’t overly seasoned to irritate my stomach.
I carried a bag full of these to each chemo session and ate them all throughout treatment.
6. Reading Materials
As I mentioned above, chemo sessions can last a LONG time. A lot of patients sleep during treatment, but I was never able to relax enough.
Instead, I relied on books and magazines to help pass the time. For a care package, you could toss in a few magazines or a gift card to a book store.
7. Chemo Tote Bag
I carried a large tote bag with me to the infusion center for each treatment. This bag allowed me to keep all of my chemo must haves in an organized space.
You can easily store the tote bag at home so you don’t have to unpack/repack your purse each week for chemo.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Tote is super cute and includes lots of pockets! (Amazon Affiliate Link)
8. Water Bottle
One of the major things nurses and doctors recommend during chemo is drinking LOTS of water. This really helps with preventing and managing side effects.
I carried a reusable water bottle with me to each chemo session. The infusion center should have plenty of disposable cups and ice machines for your use.
If you run out of ice or water, you can easily re-fill your personal water bottle there.
This is the water bottle I liked because I tend to drink more when I have a straw for some reason. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
9. $1 Bills
I know this is really random, and it may not be needed at every hospital. However, I carried $1 bills to treatment to tip the valet.
My hospital offered free valet parking for cancer patients. The young valet attendant at my hospital was super friendly and hard working.
I liked to give him a few dollars each time he brought my vehicle back. My husband and I kept a stash of one dollar bills in my vehicle’s console, so we could easily grab a few dollars to tip the valet each week
10. Seatbelt Pillow
This is a REALLY helpful gift for someone who has a port. My chemo port sits on my chest in a spot where the seatbelt constantly rubs against it.
I found myself folding up a t-shirt to place over my port while in the car because it got so uncomfortable. A seatbelt pillow provides a cusion over the chemo port area so you aren’t distracted by the irritating feeling of the seatbelt rubbing.
This seatbelt pillow is probably my favorite item on this entire list! (Amazon Affiliate Link)
11. Dining Giftcards
Like I mentioned above, chemo usually affects your appetite. I found the feeling to be very similar to the experience of pregnancy and “morning” sickness.
With chemo, I had a hard time planning meals because I often started craving something random at dinner time.
My husband and I were very appreciative for gift cards during this time, particularly for food delivery services.
The last thing anyone wants to do after a four hour chemo session is cook dinner and clean dishes!
Final Thoughts on Chemo Care Package Ideas
I hope you found my list of chemo must haves useful!
I wanted to mention that a lot of people recommend a blanket as a great gift for a chemo patient. The infusion center at my hospital provided heated blankets, which I preferred to carrying my own each time.
Do you have any other items you would add to a chemo care package?
Comment below to share your ideas!