These gift ideas for mastectomy patients are inspired by a oncologist’s instructions for healing after breast surgery. A single or double mastectomy is traumatic; give her gifts that help her recover and heal. Mastectomy care packages, pillows, and gift bags are just a few of the ideas on this list; every gift is related to the breast surgeon’s instructions for post-mastectomy healing and recovery after breast cancer surgery.
The Breast Cancer Mastectomy Shirt With Drain Pockets was designed by a cancer survivor, and is better than a mastectomy camisole. The material is soft as a feather against sensitive, healing skin, and contains key patented features that help with healing and recovery after a mastectomy. The moisture absorbing material keep patients dry and comfortable. Because movement after surgery may be limited, and maneuvering buttons can be a painful challenge, this mastectomy shirt is fashioned with Velcro-like fasteners for ease of dressing and oversized armholes to help patients easily slip into it. It also has drain and equipment concealing pockets – because many women return home with drainage tubes or equipment after a double or single mastectomy. This shirt is designed with four internal pockets that conceal drains and equipment, which makes it a thoughtful gift to help her recover and heal after breast cancer surgery.
Another mastectomy gift idea is a Sterling Silver Bracelet that says “You are braver than you believe…” is a bit less “medical.” The quote engraved on this bracelet says “You are braver than you believe and stronger than you feel.” A bracelet like this is a constant reminder of her strengths, and your love for her. The most important gifts for mastectomy patients are hope and faith that they will heal, they will recover, and they are as beautiful now as they were before.
In this article, you’ll find a variety of practical and recovery-oriented gifts for patients after breast cancer surgery, as well as several heartwarming and comforting ideas. I also included the link to the oncologist’s article on recovering from a mastectomy, so you see what to expect after surgery.
Gifts to Help Her Heal After a Mastectomy or Breast Surgery
If she’s staying in the hospital for longer than expected, read How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital – 8 Tips for Patients. You’ll find several surprising gift ideas for mastectomy patients in that article.
Post mastectomy surgery gift basket for women
The Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets Get Well Soon Gift Basket is a great option if you want to stay away from the more “serious” mastectomy recovery gift ideas for women after breast cancer surgery. This gift basket is uplifting and delightful, and will help take your patient’s mind off the less savory parts of healing after a mastectomy. This beautiful gift basket is accented with flowers, contains sweets and gourmet treats, and will bring a smile to her face.
Below are several more gifts for after a mastectomy, plus a quick list of six gifts for women after breast cancer surgery. Every gift in this list is based on a tip for healing from a surgeon. Remember that you’re not giving gifts for no reason – you’re giving hope and showing how much you care by helping her heal after a mastectomy.
It’s traumatic to have breast cancer surgery and it takes a long time to recover – but your breast cancer surgery recovery gifts can be part of the healing process.
Mastectomy Gift Bag
A Double Mastectomy Gift Bag® is the most popular gift for mastectomy patients, and is actually a “breast cancer recovery bag.” It’s a great gift for after mastectomy surgery. It includes pillows, toiletries, amusements, and other things women need to heal after surgery.
This gift includes things you wouldn’t think of that mastectomy patients need but may not be able to afford, such as drain care supplies.
The following tips for healing after mastectomy surgery (post-operative recovery) are from the University of California San Francisco’s Mastectomy: Instructions After Breast Cancer Surgery. Each tip is connected to a gift idea, to help mastectomy patients heal from a single or double mastectomy.
Dry shampoo, soap, lotion, and pampering items
Throat lozenges and magazines
Mastectomy patients have tubes down their throats during the mastectomy surgery. This often causes a sore throat for a few days after surgery, so she’ll really appreciate throat lozenges to soothe her throat and magazines to read while recovering.
The Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Lozenges, Ginger with Echinacea is a practical gift idea for her after mastectomy surgery.
Items such as honey lozenges and dry shampoo may not seem like good gifts for mastectomy patients, but you have to remember how expensive those things can be. Pre and post surgery costs add up fast, which is why I’m sharing these ideas for patients after breast cancer surgery.
Plush blankets and pillows
Since bruising and some swelling is common in women after mastectomy surgery, a wonderful gift idea for her is a Super Soft Black Borrego Plush Throw Blanket – perhaps with a soft plush pillow. She’s healing from a traumatic surgery, and needs all the comfort and pampering she can get.
After a mastectomy oncologists recommend icepacks to decrease discomfort and swelling – particularly to the armpit after a lymph node dissection. A small pillow for her neck or armpit area may decrease discomfort and help her heal. This gift idea for mastectomy patients can also be re-used after the mastectomy surgery. I’m not including a link to post mastectomy surgery lymph drainage pillows because it’s better for her to get information from her surgeon before she uses a specific type of pillow.
Read How to Sleep After Breast Cancer Surgery for more gift ideas and tips on how to help a patient recover after a single or double mastectomy.
Personally, I would love a O, The Oprah Magazine subscription if I was recovering from breast cancer surgery! It’d be a wonderful surprise every month for a year – not just as a one-time mastectomy gift idea.
Encouragement to exercise, such as Yoga for Cancer DVDs
The post-mastectomy recovery tips include exercises that help patients regain movement and flexibility.
A healthy gift idea for her is a Yoga DVD for Breast Cancer for Patients and Survivors that increases her strength and flexibility.
If she had a lymph node dissection, doctors encourage NOT exercising until after her first post-operative visit. If you like the yoga DVD gift idea for after a single or double mastectomy, encourage her to listen to her surgeon’s tips for healing after the mastectomy.
Healthy, delicious high-fiber fruits and veggies
Help her recover from her surgery by giving her a Fruit, Cheese and Nuts Delight Fruit Basket.
Since narcotics for pain management after mastectomy surgery can cause or worsen constipation, patients are encouraged to increase her fluid intake and eat high fiber foods such as prunes and bran. A local bakery may have a good assortment of high-fiber fruit and bran muffins (though they are often very high in fat).
A water infuser
The Atlantis Water and Fruit Infusion Glass Pitcher is perfect for infusing beverages with natural flavors. It’s a great way to enjoy a sweet drink without added sugar. It’s so easy to use; just choose your favorite fruits, and slice them into smaller pieces. The smaller the slices, the stronger the infusion. Put the fruit inside the infuser and add fresh water. Wait for at least an hour and voila! Delicious water with no calories.
The hospital recommends that mastectomy patients drink eight to 10 glasses of water and non-caffeinated beverages every day. This helps clean her system after mastectomy surgery – and so do fresh fruits, vegetables, and lower fat foods.
Even if she doesn’t like to read, she may be forced to when she recovers from surgery! A Kindle eReader or Kobo is one of the best gift ideas for her after mastectomy surgery, because she won’t be able to lift her arms or hold them up for long. Splurge on the latest Kindle, and load it up with fiction and non-fiction books.
Rides to follow-up oncologist appointments
Patients have to see their surgeons for at least one follow-up appointment after a single or double mastectomy, and one of the best gift ideas for her is company. She may not be able to drive, and might really appreciate the support. You might also offer to help her keep track of her doctor’s appointments, via a shared calendar.
Hope and faith – the best gift after mastectomy surgery
A symbol of hope – such as a “Tree of Life” Opal Circle Pendant on Amazon (pictured) – is one of the most heartfelt and hopeful gifts you can give a mastectomy patient. It’s a visual reminder of healing and love, and can help keep her strong.
A Heart-Shaped Locket With a Butterfly is another beautiful and thoughtful mastectomy gift idea for a woman with cancer, because she can put photos of loved ones inside.
The most important gift you can give a mastectomy patient is to your time and attention
I think it’s difficult to know what to say when a friend, sister, wife, or coworker has mastectomy surgery. An acquaintance recently emailed me that she will undergo a double mastectomy in less than a month, and I didn’t respond until today. It took me five whole days to figure out what to say! Granted, I don’t know her well – I’ve only met her a couple dozen times through walking our dogs. But, the best post mastectomy recovery gift you can give anyone is your presence.
By the way, I recently wrote an article about journaling for breast cancer survivors. New research shows that expressive writing affects the health and wellness of women with cancer. A journal is a lovely gift for a mastectomy patient, if she enjoys writing.
Invitations for small walks
Today I texted a friend who will soon be undergoing double mastectomy surgery, and asked if she wanted to walk with me and my dogs. I haven’t see her for over two months because of her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. After the mastectomy surgery, she will be encouraged to get up and out of bed to take small walks. A healthy gift idea for her – or any woman healing from a mastectomy – are regular, consistent text or email invitations for short walks. Walking can be restarted right after a double or single mastectomy…and who wants to walk alone?
For more tips on supporting a patient after breast cancer and mastectomy surgery, read How to Help a Friend Whose Mom Has Cancer.
6 Quick Gift Ideas for After Mastectomy Surgery
- Books about recovering from breast cancer and/or mastectomies, such as Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer by Melanie Young
- Mastectomy bra
- Chick flick DVDs
- House cleaning services
- Amazon.com Gift Card, with a pretty card and invitation to pamper herself any way she wants.
One last gift idea for breast cancer patients – which they may not be ready for yet. A cancer tattoo would be good for certain women, but not everyone.
A breast cancer tattoo – a good gift for mastectomy patients?
Catherine Madden got a tattoo as a gift to herself after a double mastectomy…a tattoo over her missing breasts. She didn’t get the breast cancer ribbon tattoo pictured – it came from a blog called I Kicked Cancer’s Ass.
“For me it was something beautiful coming from something so ugly,” says Catherine in Cheeky Tattoo Celebrates Woman’s Breast Cancer Recovery in Britain’s News & Star. “I liked the person I was before cancer, but I love the person I have become after cancer. [A double mastectomy] really does change you, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse.”
Some mastectomy patients say tattoos are a gift that gives them a chance to reclaim their identity, to take back something cancer had taken from them. They have a chance to put their own badge on an experience they had no control over. Is a tattoo a good gift idea for a woman after a single or double mastectomy? It depends on the woman – and what her oncologist or surgeon says about the health risks of a tattoo after surgery.
If you’d rather give a more whimsical, pretty gift than the practical health-related ideas on this list for mastectomy patients, read 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her – Creative and Thoughtful.