Learn how you can create a cancer care package for your loved one

What to Include in a Cancer Care Package

If someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you want to make the situation better, but you don’t always know the best way.

While you can’t change your loved one’s diagnosis or treatment, you can do something to make that process a little more pleasant, especially if chemotherapy treatment is involved. Chemo treatments can be long, tiring, and uncomfortable. By putting together a cancer care package, you can stand by your loved one going through treatment.

Are you looking for cancer care package ideas? Here are a few suggestions:

Learn more about chemotherapy and cancer care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

Cancer Care Package Ideas

Be sure to have your loved one check with their doctor to make sure it is safe to consume or use the products you’ve provided.

  • Warm blankets and socks. Clinics and hospitals — where chemotherapy is administered — are often chilly, so blankets and warm socks can make your loved one more comfortable. Additionally, blankets can provide a feeling of comfort and safety that goes beyond warmth.
  • Moisturizers and lip balm. During chemotherapy, a common side effect is dry, painful skin and lips. Gentle skin moisturizers and lip balms can relieve dry skin and prevent sores or rashes. In your cancer care package, avoid products with a strong scent, as the smell can be irritating or nauseating to someone undergoing chemo.
  • Headwear and/or salon gift cards. For many people receiving chemotherapy treatment, losing their hair causes both physical and emotional discomfort. You can help by sending a gift card for a salon where they can be fitted for a wig, have their head shaved, or receive other beauty treatments. Headscarves are also a thoughtful gift; they provide both warmth and security for those who have lost their hair.
  • Snacks and water. These items serve many purposes, not the least of which is that snacking can pass the time during chemo treatments. Snacks like hard candy and fruit also help to counteract dry mouth and metal mouth (a metallic taste), common side effects of chemotherapy. Dehydration often causes headaches during chemotherapy, so it’s important for your loved one to drink lots of water. Decaffeinated and herbal teas are also a great addition to a care package as a way to provide relief and comfort.
  • Entertainment. Treatments can be long and grueling, but a good book or movie can help pass the time. Learn your loved one’s favorite form of entertainment and consider sending some magazines, e-books, a video streaming subscription, or a book of crossword puzzles.
  • Inspiration. For people fighting cancer, staying positive can be nearly as essential as physical health. An inspirational book or quote, or even just a kind note, can go a long way in bolstering your loved one’s strength and spirit.

RELATED: Coping with Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment

Cancer can be a frightening, mysterious experience, but no one should have to go it alone. These care package ideas are sure to put a smile on your loved one’s face. Learn more about chemotherapy and cancer care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.