What can I do to help?: Recommendations from a Cancer Survivor

You may have a family member or friend who is currently receiving treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer and it can be hard to know what to do to help. These are some things that can help them and their family during a difficult time: 

food cooking

Cooking some meals that they can have in the fridge/freezer ready to go

When receiving breast cancer treatment, your energy levels are incredibly low and you become hungry very quickly. The convenience of having meals pre-cooked and ready to only require heating the in the microwave is greatly appreciated by the patient and family members 

walking exercise


If your friend or family member is feeling well enough, offering to go on a gentle walk with them is incredibly important for their physical health and well-being, but especially for their mental and emotional health as social interactions can be limited during this time whilst being unwell and receiving treatment. 

music playlist

Upbeat music playlist 

Making an upbeat music playlist that they can listen to whilst receiving treatment or at home 

Going over to the patients house for visits for short periods of time

People undergoing current breast cancer treatment can become fatigued very quickly with social interaction. However, short visits can be really lovely to help lift their spirits and know you are thinking of them. 

Sometimes people enjoy gesturing their love and support during a difficult time with gifts. When speaking with a survivor of breast cancer, she found these gifts to be very useful:

two people sitting laughing

*All suggestions come from a biased opinion of someone that has gone through Breast Cancer. These may not be the perfect match for each individual only recommendations. Please seek medical attention if needed.

Neck pillow (for comfort in the chair whilst receiving chemotherapy treatment, and for comfort across the chest when driving so the seat belt is resting directly over the port-a-cath)

Biotene toothpaste and gel (as your teeth and gums become very sensitive and your mouth very dry whilst receiving chemotherapy)

QV moisturizing cream (as the skin becomes very thin and easily irritated, especially during radiation)

A blanket/beanie/scarf (whilst receiving treatment in hospitals the air-conditioning is quite cold when sitting still for several hours at a time – for comfort and warmth)

Triangle pillow (for comfort as a patient receiving treatment does lots of sitting and laying down while resting and recovering)

Heat pack/wheat pack (to relieve achy and sore muscles, as they spend a lot of their time resting in either sitting or laying down positions)

Hydrolyte ice blocks (to assist with the nausea experienced during chemotherapy treatment)

1L water bottle (patient’s receiving treatment are required to drink 3-4L a day, making this easy to monitor with a 1L water bottle)

Vasoline (to stop nose bleeds and relief sores inside the nose that can be a side effect of the treatment)

Cool gel packs (breast cancer treatment has a huge effect on the hormones of the female body, one where they struggle to regulate body temperature and have frequent hot flushes)

A journal/diary (for the patient to document all medical appointments/ information obtained by specialists during appointments as it can be overwhelming to retain all of the information given)

A spa/massage voucher (that the patient can use after treatment has ceased)

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