This list of breast cancer gifts include practical and encouraging tips to help a woman heal after surgery. Whether she’s had a single or double mastectomy – or “just” exploratory surgery – she’ll need a little TLC! When you’re searching for mastectomy or breast cancer gifts, remember that money is may be a source of stress for her. The equipment, clothes, medication and supplies needed for healing after surgery are expensive! So, this gift list includes practical items to help her heal.
For example, the Surgical Recovery Robe with Internal Pockets for Post-Operative Drain Holder and Breast Cancer/Mastectomy Recovery isn’t the most beautiful breast cancer gift on this list, but she’ll need several. Because even the smallest movements after breast cancer surgery are painful, she needs loose, soft, comfortable clothing. The robe pockets conceal and support post-operative fluid drains; it’s stylishly designed for wear before, during and after a mastectomy or breast cancer surgery. This gift also looks and feels great with a cozy pair of leggings.
A single or double mastectomy is emotionally and physically painful; these breast cancer gifts are based on an oncologist’s instructions for healing after surgery.The best post-surgery gifts show her that it’s okay to talk about the healing and recovery process! And if you can find the beauty and laughter in your gifts and visits with her, you’ll help her more than you can imagine.
Breast cancer 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.
Breast Cancer Gifts for Healing After Surgery
The best gift you could give any woman is hope and comfort. Every woman deals with breast cancer differently; there are no “one size fits all” breast cancer gifts. It can be challenging to find the right gift for her, but the bottom line is that you want to help keep her spirits up and her body comfortable throughout the ordeal.
The best idea may be to give her something practical (such as the post-mastectomy robe above) and something inspirational (such as the breast cancer gift bracelet below). But, it really does depend on how she’s dealing with the diagnosis and surgery. I gathered a variety of practical and recovery-oriented gifts for patients after breast cancer surgery, as well as several heartwarming and comforting ideas. At the end of this article you’ll find the link to the oncologist’s tips for recovering after breast cancer surgery.
If she’s recovering in the hospital, she might find it helpful to read How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital – 8 Tips for Patients.
The gift of courage and support
An encouraging, hope-filled 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 who she is, how far she’s come, and how much you care about her. The most important gifts for mastectomy patients are hope and faith that they will heal and be as beautiful as they were before.
It’s scary to be diagnosed with breast cancer – remember when they used to call it the “C” word? It’s painful and terrifying to surgery. Put those both together, and you’ve got more fear and anxiety than any woman should have to face. The fact that you are searching for comforting gift ideas for someone who has cancer shows that you care. You want to be part of the healing process. When you give her your gift, tell her that.
The gift of comfortable travel
The Breast and Chest Buddy Seatbelt Cushion for Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Sites answers the “how do I put on my seatbelt after a mastectomy?” question. It’s one of those breast cancer gifts you’d never think of giving unless you’ve had surgery. This gift cushions and protects her chest area from the seatbelt.
A ride home after major breast cancer surgery can be unbearable, because the seatbelt often irritates stitches and tender areas. If she’s traveling a long way, she’ll need to be as comfortable as possible. I needed one of these after my shoulder surgeries, which I wrote about in Prayers for Healing and Recovery After Surgery.
The following gift ideas are based on tips for healing after mastectomy surgery, from the University of California San Francisco’s Mastectomy: Instructions After Breast Cancer Surgery. Each tip is connected to a breast cancer gift idea.
The gift of feeling clean and pampered
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk works well for patients who can’t get their incisions wet after surgery. Since breast cancer patients aren’t able to shower until after the drain is out, they need something to keep them feeling fresh and clean. Dry shampoo with oat milk is gentle and soft.
Avene’s Hypersensitive Skin Regimen Kit for Sensitive and Irritated Skin contains gentle, mild skin care products. After surgery, her skin will be tender and achey. This is one of those breast cancer gifts that will ease the pain, whether she’s had a double mastectomy or “just” a simple procedure. These essential products are formulated to calm irritation and protect the skin barrier. Each kit contains extremely gentle cleanser lotion to gently clean without stripping the skin, avène thermal spring water to soothe and calm discomfort, and 100 percent sterile skin recovery cream to hydrate and rebalance.
The gift of sleep
Chanasya’s 5-Piece Warm Hugs – Positive Energy – Healing Thoughts Comfort – Caring Message Gift Pack includes a Throw Blanket, Neck Pillow, Eye Mask, Tote Bag, and Socks for women in the hospital and at home. You’ll literally surround your breast cancer survivor with warmth, positive energy, healing thoughts, comfort and care with this gift.
An even more helpful “gift of sleep” is the Cushy Form Bed Wedge Pillow for patients recovery from surgery. This pillow isn’t specifically designed to help breast cancer patients sleep after surgery. But, it improves body alignment and supports the upper back and shoulders. It eases back and neck pain – which mastectomy patients will feel – and assists eases breathing, snoring, GERD and acid reflux issues.
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.
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 the practical breast cancer gifts are so helpful.
The gift of comfort after breast cancer surgery
Since bruising and swelling is common after mastectomy surgery, a comforting gift idea for her is a Super Soft Borrego Plush Throw Blanket – perhaps with a good 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 is one of those breast cancer gifts that shell love using after she recovers.
Read How to Sleep After Breast Cancer Surgery for ideas for gifts to help women recover after a single or double mastectomy.
The gift of escape
If she likes Oprah, an O Magazine subscription is a good way to encourage and support her. A magazine subscription is one of those recurring gifts that can brighten a dreary, painful recovery period. This is one of those gifts that keeps on giving, month after month…long after most of her friends and family have gotten busy with their own lives.
What hobbies, interests, or passions does she like to escape into? Find a magazine subscription that speaks to that interest. One of the best breast cancer gifts is something that distracts her from fear and anxiety.
The gift of yoga for breast cancer survivors
The Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors is very different from regular yoga books. The authors have a gentle approach, offer modifications, and speak directly to breast cancer survivors. This gift will help women cope with the painful emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.
If she had a lymph node dissection, oncologists and surgeons encourage no exercise until after her first post-operative visit. This is one of those breast cancer gifts that help her look toward the future, for when she’s strong and healthier.
The gift of nourishment
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).
The gift of refreshment
The Chef’s INSPIRATIONS 3 Core Infusion Water Pitcher hits that sweet spot between practical and inspirational! It infuses water with healthy, natural fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s a great way to enjoy a sweet drink without added sugar. These natural fruit infusers are so easy to use, too. She won’t have to blend, chop (much) or even peel the fruit.
After surgery (breast cancer or not), patients are constipated. What do you give a woman recovering from a double mastectomy? The gift of regular bowel movements doesn’t sound beautiful, but believe me it is a gift to be regular in that one way after breast cancer surgery.
Oncologists recommend that mastectomy patients and post-operative breast cancer survivors 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.
The gift of reading
The New Fire 7 Tablet isn’t just a Kindle e-reader! It’s a tablet engineered and tested by Amazon. It’s heir best-selling tablet, now with twice the storage, a faster quad-core processor and hands-free with Alexa. It’s also twice as durable as the latest iPad mini. This is one of those breast cancer gifts that will help her feel productive and connected even when she’s alone. She can complete tasks, enjoy movies on the go, browse recipes, or ask Alexa for the weather—all of which makes the healing process faster and easier.
Even if she doesn’t like to read, she may be forced to when she recovers from surgery. Might as well give her something that makes reading easier and more interesting!
The gift of a lift after breast cancer surgery
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.
The gift of life – one of the most beautiful breast cancer gifts
The “Tree of Life” Opal Circle Pendant is a beautiful gift for mastectomy patients in recovery after surgery. It’s a visual reminder of healing and life, and can help keep her strong. It’s also a symbol of your hope and faith in the future, as well as your love for her.
A Heart-Shaped Locket Necklace is another beautiful and thoughtful mastectomy gift idea for a woman with cancer, because she can put photos of loved ones inside.
A few more breast cancer gifts…
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. After the mastectomy surgery, she will be encouraged to get up and out of bed to take small walks. A healing breast cancer 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 she may need a friend to walk with.
For more tips on supporting a patient after breast cancer and mastectomy surgery, read How to Help a Friend Whose Mom Has Cancer.
The gift of a breast cancer tattoo?
Breast cancer survivor 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.
Didn’t find the breast cancer gift you were hoping for? Read 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her – Creative and Thoughtful for more whimsical and fun ideas!