Simple gifts provide a lot of comfort.

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Breast Cancer Survivor Holding Pink Ribbon Symbol Vector Illustration
Credit: nicoletaionescu/Getty Images

A breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can be difficult. As a friend or family member, stepping up and providing help or a little something special at this time can make all the difference.

That's why we spoke with breast cancer survivors about the most useful gifts, both physical and experiential, that they received during their cancer journey.

1. A Home-cooked Meal

top-down view of a white 9x13 casserole dish of Grandma’s ground beef casserole with a scoop out and plated nearby.
Credit: Meredith Food Studios

Everyone loves a home-cooked meal, especially people who could use a helping hand during treatment or in between appointments. Many survivors spoke about how grateful they were for friends and family coordinating meals to ensure that this task was off their plate during the road to recovery.

"I received a meal train for thirty days, starting the day I went into surgery. My friends acted like this was a little thing, but to me, this was huge! Food is love, and not having to worry about something as mundane as what to cook for dinner, and the time spent doing this, was incredible. It also usually allowed for leftovers for lunch the next day!" — Melissa Stewart

2. Comfy Pajamas

two models wearing bamboo pajamas
Credit: Courtesy of This Is J

Buy it: This Is J Bamaboo Pajamas, $120; This Is J

Soft, cozy clothes can be vital after radiation treatment or surgery. Environmentally sustainable bamboo is not only great for the planet but also hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking, designed to be ultra-comfy.

"One of the most thoughtful gifts I received was a fuzzy blanket, housecoat, and a pajama nightshirt. They were all so soft and perfect after surgery. [The friend who gave it to me] didn't know it at the time, but each piece was beneficial — the house coast with pockets to hold my drains, and the nightshirt had buttons hallway so I could slip into it without raising my arms." — Annedrea McMenemy

"The clothing I received felt incredible — so soft and cozy — which was a relief against my skin both after surgery and especially during the weeks after radiation when my skin felt sunburned and itchy. I'm feeling so much better now, but I am still enjoying the luxury feel of these clothes! That is a little boost for sure." — Melissa Stewart

3. A Box of Luxury Bath Products

cos bar home spa kit
Credit: Courtesy of Cos Bar

Buy it: Home Spa Kit, $75; Cos Bar

Self-care should be an essential part of everyone's wellness routine, especially so when fighting a disease. Containing bath salts, a face mask, creams, and oils, this luxurious kit pampering and promoting relaxation.

"A box of luxury bath salts, body lotions, candles, and creams, all things that I don't often buy myself but love to use. It feels like a little splurge and reminds me that taking care of myself is important." — Melissa Stewart

4. Support Love

"The best gifts were/are the time people spent visiting me, sending text messages to check in, phone calls to chat, and scheduling walks as I was more able. I know how busy other people are, and I still appreciate this every day."

"I appreciated the friends and coworkers who would send me a simple text saying, 'Hey, just thinking about you. Hope you're feeling ok today." — Jennifer Staddon Johnson

5. Takeout Gift Cards

Heart sushi roll
Credit: Sudowoodo/Getty Images

Buy it: Uber Eats Gift Card, any amount; Uber Eats

Similar to home-cooked meals, gifting a meal is always welcome whether — you're the chef or Pizza Hut.

"UberEats were fantastic when the energy to cook wasn't there." — Jennifer Staddon Johnson

6. Port/Mastectomy Pillow

Seatbelt Pillows for Post-Surgery Comfort Mastectomy Breast Cancer
Credit: Amazon

Buy it: Seatbelt Pillow, $23.95; Amazon

This slip is ideal for protecting any sensitive areas around the chest that could be jostled or impacted by riding in the car. It's designed to attach to the seatbelt for post-surgery healing.

"The seatbelt strap rubbed on my port placement. I received a 'port pillow' to use in the car, which turned out to be a great gift to prevent friction and pain." — Jennifer Staddon Johnson

"The best gift I received was a mastectomy pillow for the car; this is a heart-shaped pillow that slips between my arm and my chest, which I'm still using months later." — Sharon Kuzma

7. Prayer Shawl

"One of the most thoughtful gifts I received was a prayer shawl. I am not religious, but the idea that people I didn't know were rooting for me gave me strength. The handmade knitted shawl was soft and warm and very useful during treatment. It kept me warm and allowed my arms to be free for BP test, etc." — Deena Knopf Thompson

8. Ginger Candy

The Ginger People Gin Gins Chews 1 pound bag, Original Ginger, 16 Ounce
Credit: Amazon

Buy it: The Ginger People Gin Gins Chews, $15/1-pound bag; Amazon

The thousands of 5-star reviews on Gin Gins, especially noting its anti-nausea properties, give this candy our approval.

"A friend's husband gave me ginger candy at the beginning because that's what helped him with nausea when he did chemo. He also shared a lot of useful advice on what to expect." — Kathy Zahakos-Gray

9. A Helping Hand

"A girlfriend came once a week and cleaned my house. Another friend checked on me every day and gave me a light massage to ease the pain in my neck and shoulders. My beautiful friend Tammy cleaned my flower beds and kept them watered all summer." — Cathy Netherton

"For me, I appreciated the rides, the meals, and errand running (when I was going through chemo and didn't go anywhere.)." — Wanda Evans