These breast cancer gifts for mastectomy patients are inspired by an oncologist’s instructions for healing after breast surgery. They’re practical and helpful ideas, and won’t clutter her hospital room or home. When you’re searching for mastectomy or breast cancer gifts, remember that money is probably an issue for her. The equipment, clothes, medication and supplies needed for healing after surgery are expensive! So, this gift list contains both practical and inspirational ideas.
For example, the Surgical Recovery Robe with Internal Pockets for Post-Operative Drain Holder and Breast Cancer/Mastectomy Recovery isn’t the most beautiful 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 traumatic; give her gifts that help her recover and heal. The best breast cancer 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 the gifts and visits with her, you’ll help her more than you can imagine.
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.
Breast Cancer Gifts for Healing After a Mastectomy or 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. Give your patient the gift of understanding and support for the more grueling aspects of recovery.
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
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.
Post mastectomy surgery gift basket for women
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
Since mastectomy patients aren’t able to shower until after the drain is out, she’ll need something to keep her feeling fresh and clean after the surgery.
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is very popular, and will help her feel like a beautiful woman again. I looked for dry soaps and unscented lotions, but couldn’t find anything that would make good gifts for women after mastectomy surgery.
The Avene SOS Complete Post-Procedure Recovery Kit contains everything a patient needs after surgery, but isn’t specifically for breast cancer patients after a mastectomy. This recovery kit includes Thermal Spring Water (1.76 oz.), Facial Compress (3 count), Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream (1.4 oz.), Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion (1.69 oz.), and Tolerance Extreme Cream (1.7 oz.).
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.
The GiftTree Fresh Fruit and Gourmet Cookies Gift Basket is a great option if you want to stay away from the more “serious” breast cancer gift ideas. 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.
The gift of comfort after breast cancer surgery
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 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.
Give her three or four magazines about things she enjoys reading about.
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. 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.
A breast cancer tattoo
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 find something prettier and more inspirational than these breast cancer gifts, read 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her – Creative and Thoughtful.