For Friends and Family

Gift ideas for someone going through breast cancer

Posted by Sara Liyanage on 13 August 2021

Someone has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It might be your mum, your partner, your wife, your friend, your sister, your cousin, someone who lives a few doors down from you or even your brother, boyfriend or husband (men get breast cancer too), and you want to give them a special gift but you don’t know what to give. It can be really difficult to know what to buy someone going through breast cancer and to think of thoughtful gift ideas. From our experience as patients, we’ve compiled this list to offer you both gift ideas for someone with breast cancer and guidance around how to give a gift to someone going through breast cancer.

Gift ideas for someone with breast cancer

Practical gifts

  1. Water spray
  2. Hand held battery operated fan
  3. Tissues (small handy packs because chemotherapy makes your nose drip)
  4. Hand sanitiser and wet wipes
  5. If they are having surgery then they may need a bag for the drain (see Drain Dollies)
  6. Lip balm
  7. Plastic ice lolly molds (to make fruit juice ice lollies which can really help during chemo)
  8. Notepad and pen
  9. An ipad cushion
  10. A tray with a bean bag base to use on the sofa or in bed
  11. Soft hats
  12. Anti sickness wrist bands
  13. A roll on lavender essential oil which they can use for headaches and general relaxation
  14. A glass or metallic water bottle
  15. Alcohol free mouthwash (perhaps even aloe vera)
  16. Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  17. Essential oils, an oil burner and tealights (lavender is best)

Food and drink gift ideas

  1. Meals for the freezer – always so, so appreciated
  2. Sweet treats such as an afternoon tea of scones with a tub of cream and a jar of jam
  3. Granola
  4. Healthy snack bars
  5. Homemade lemonade or other healthy drinks

Fun and cute gifts

  1. A bell to ring when they wants a cup of tea to be brought by a family member
  2. Things with uplifting words on them such as a mug or a T-shirt

Luxury gift ideas

  1. A nice journal or notebook in which to write thoughts/plans, or take to appointments
  2. A nice tote bag to use for chemo sessions
  3. Soft pillow cases
  4. Soft blanket
  5. Luxurious slippers
  6. A soft jumper
  7. A microwaveable wheaty bag
  8. Fluffy (or even cashmere) socks or slippers
  9. Soft shawls or scarves
  10. A hot water bottle and soft cover
  11. Bamboo clothing or pyjamas or a onesie
  12. Eye masks – you can get cooling ones that are stored in the fridge, or warming ones which heat up once the packet is opened
  13. Nice candle (natural or organic candles with a very subtle gentle scent are ideal for someone going through treatment)
  14. Nice hand cream, lipbalm, toiletries, bubble bath, deodorant, nail oil (you may wish to consider paraben free/organic/sensitive skin ranges because chemo can make the skin more sensitive than usual – there are companies which sell products specifically suitable for chemo patients such as Jennifer Young: Beauty Despite Cancer – link below)
  15. Christmas sparkle (something sparkly and pretty during the Christmas period)
  16. Trinkets, for example guardian angels and worry dolls
  17. A stress ball
  18. Vouchers for spa treatments, afternoon tea, cinema, reflexology, reiki (but be aware that body massages are sometimes not recommended during chemo, especially where the lymph nodes have been removed – although there are spas which specialise in massage for people having chemo and Future Dreams offers oncology massages with a specialist practitioner.)

Distractions and things to keep busy

  1. Puzzle books
  2. Colouring books and pens/pencils (the mindfulness ones are great)
  3. Reading books
  4. Magazines or a magazine subscription
  5. A subscription to a TV streaming service
  6. Cook books – there are some specfiic breast cancer cooks books such as the Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook, the Jane Clark Nourish Cook Book and the Breast Cancer Cookbook by Professor Mohammed Keshtgar
  7. Notepad and pen
  8. Mini/travel board games to play with the children, or arts and crafts to do with the children
  9. Depending on the ages of the children, books to read with the children

Fun gift ideas to cheer up someone

  1. A tree to plant in the garden
  2. Flowers are such a lovely thought but check with their partner or carer first, as sometimes patients with low immunity shouldn’t be in contact with flowers
  3. Write lots of uplifting quotes, affirmations and mantras on small pieces of colourful paper, then fold them up and put them in a jar or box so they can take one out whenever they are having a bad day and need a little bit of help.
  4. Get friends and family members to write little uplifting notes which you then seal in individual envelopes and (depending on what is written on the note) write instructions on the envelopes as to when they can open them. For example:
    1. open when… you need to smile
    2. open when…you need a good laugh
    3. open when… you are stressed
    4. open when…you are bored
    5. open when…you need a hug
  5. Give the gift of your time and write a card, asking them to choose five places for you to visit together when they are feeling up to it.
  6. Give some “feeling better” vouchers: vouchers for things to do together when they feel up to it – they can present these vouchers to you when they’re feeling up to doing these things (for example: lunch out, a picnic, sharing a bottle of wine one evening, Sunday roast at your house for all the family, going for a walk, shopping, a trip to the cinema and so on).


Yes, you can buy or make a gift and deliver it when you hear that your friend or family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer. That would be very well received. Or, you could do something a little bit different. After all, getting through breast cancer is long old slog and would be extra nice to have things spread across the duration of treatment to help break up the drudgery, monotony and misery that treatment can bring.

Examples are:

  1. A bag of wrapped presents with one to open per day. For example, one per day in the build up to say, surgery. Or one to open every day of chemo. Or one to open every three days after chemo (which are the worst days of side effects). You don’t need to spend much and you can include things like: puzzle books, tissues, lipbalm, hand sanitizer, magazines, books (no need for them to be brand new), chocolate, herbal tea bags, sweets, mints, water spray and so on (take a look at the list of gift ideas below).
  2. A box of sunshine. A box full of lovely yellow things. Try finding items on the lists below in yellow such as: tissues, toiletries, sweets, stationery, pens, mug, socks, scarf, and lemons (lots of lemon things are nice during illness: lemon tea, lemon lipbalm, lemon sweets, lemon hand sanitiser and so on). Or you could wrap a bunch of items in yellow paper. The point is that this is “box of sunshine” to brighten her day.
  3. A gift basket. A box or basket of individually wrapped gifts (choose from the suggestions below) with the idea that whenever they are having a particularly bad day, they can open one of the gifts. Make sure you pop in things that will make them smile when they open them.
  4. A human repair kit/chemo care package. A box of useful chemo things. Things that will be of practical help during chemo, and things that will make life a little easier or more bearable. Choose items from the lists above, for example:

Chemo care package
– Tissues
– Handcream
– Lipbalm
– Boiled sweets/mints
– Magazine/puzzle/book
– Notepad and pen
– Chocolate
– Antibacterial handwash – one of the nice ones

Home care package
– Tissues
– Handcream
– Lipbalm
– A bell (to ring for a cup of tea!)
– A nice shawl, scarf or blanket
– Puzzle book/magazine/book to read
– Something nice to eat, like biscuits or cakes
– Chocolate
– Teas

Pamper care package. A bag or box of luxury items which would provide a special treat during treatment. Choose from items listed above, for example:
– Luxury brand handcream, shower gel, body lotion
– A nice shawl, scarf or slippers
– A candle
– And treatment affects everyone in different ways – but maybe a bottle of favourite drink? There are lots of nice alcohol free options available.


You can, of course, buy gifts from wherever you choose, but there are some places that specialise in selling things for people going through cancer treatment. Some of them also do chemo care packages. Our favourites are:

And remember, if you are delivering something (whether food, gifts, flowers) you could text beforehand to say that you are going to deliver something and you will leave it on the doorstep at a certain time. This means that they have the option of opening the door to you if they feel up to seeing you.

Thank you for reading this. We know that by just reading this page, you are a friend who cares ♥

To return to the homepage of our Information Hub, click here where you can access more helpful information, practical advice, personal stories and more.

Reviewed March 2024

We’ve put this list of recommendations together from our experience as patients but we encourage to use these as a starting point from which to do your own research. The links and/or recommendations in this article to third-party resources are for your information and we take no responsibility for the content contained in those third-party resources. Any product recommendations made in this article are not product endorsements and unless otherwise stated, they are made without any affiliation to the brand of that product. We ask you to note that there may be other similar products available.


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