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Surviving Chemo

Updated on July 31, 2012

Gifts For Cancer Patients

The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are unpleasant, to say the least. Dry mouth, mouth sores, nausea, hair loss, weight loss, sensitivity and soreness, loss of appetite, fatigue and pain, and let's not forget boredom...the disease is terrible, but the treatment is a torment to many cancer patients. There are ways you can give the gift of comfort, and I've listed some practical suggestions below.

Here you'll find gifts to help ease the medical side effects. Above all, never forget the greatest gift of all - the gift of yourself and your time. Volunteer to help. Stay in touch. Lend a hand, a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Now continue reading to find out what you can give to a cancer patient undergoing chemo or radiation.

Greeting Cards for Cancer Patients

When "Get Well" Isn't Enough

Cancer patients often suffer feelings of loneliness and isolation. A greeting card can be a life-line that brightens someone's day. Artist Corrie Kuipers and Nene Adams have teamed up to create a line of cards especially for cancer patients (pediatric patients, too). The images are bright and cheerful; the messages upbeat, positive and heartwarming.

Greeting Cards for Cancer Patients

For more tips and ideas, visit the Cancer Touches Everyone blog.







For the Mouth

Mouth sores and dry mouth as well as a metallic taste that suppresses appetite and makes food taste strange are common problems suffered by patients doing chem. These products can help.

For the Skin

Sensitivity and dryness on the skin (sometimes even to the point of cracking) is an additional irritation to a patient already enduring a lot as well as a potential source of a life threatening infection. Chemotherapy and radiation patients must stay moisturized. These products will help.

For the Scalp and Hair

Many chemo and radiation patients experience hair loss. There is little that can be done, however using a gentle, mild shampoo and conditioner will help prevent a dry, itching scalp and retain precious moisture. These products will help.

For the Stomach

Nausea can send a dwindling appetite plummeting to zero. Maintaining weight and health during chemo or radiation treatment is essential to recovery. These products can help.

What Else Can You Do...

You Want to Help, But How?

How else can you help a cancer patient?

1The day before a treatment session, drop by the house (be sure to call first) and give a gift - an inspiring greeting card, a book with encouraging stories, a magazine they might like, hard candies, crossword puzzles, craft supplies, blank thank you cards and pre-stamped envelopes, a journal and pen - anything you think will alleviate the boredom of waiting in the hospital.

2The day after chemo or radiation treatment, visit the patient at home and do chores such as changing the bed linens (fresh sheets and pillowcases feel so good!), wash and dry a load of laundry, do the dishes, cook a meal, go grocery shopping, mow the lawn, get the kids bathed and in short, while many cancer patients work a regular job while they're undergoing treatment, they're often too tired to deal with household chores. Don't ask, and don't take no for an answer. Just do what needs to be done.

3Even if they have medical insurance, cancer patients often incur extra expenses such as trips to and from the hospital or treatment center or bills for procedures not covered by insurance, and this can cause the normal, daily expenses to fall by the wayside. If you can help financially, do so, even if it's just a gift certificate for groceries, gas, DVD rental, restaurants that deliver, or other things a patient might need.

Is there a special gift you've given a cancer patient in your life? Or as a patient, what's the best gift you were given?

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      cmadden 5 years ago

      I sat with Mom through chemo treatments; she managed rather well through it, but losing her hair was pretty hard. We lost her the day before Christmas (her favorite holiday) in 2000.