Great Chemotherapy Gift Ideas And How To Create Your Own Chemo Goody Bag

By Margot Malin, CEO, President and Founder of Lots To Live  For, Inc.

We often receive questions from friends and relatives of cancer patients about the best gifts for chemotherapy patients.  In this blog piece we share our best ideas and reasons why we choose to highlight these items.  If you are a patient, give yourself permission to create a wish list or put together a self gift. All the items we have chosen to include will enhance your physical, spiritual and emotional comfort during chemotherapy.


During and after chemotherapy your senses may feel like they have gone haywire. Taste changes are a very common side effect of chemotherapy (technically called dysgeusia). Your sense of smell might also change, and you might become overly sensitive to fragrances.  You might get chills frequently or constantly feel cold. Your mouth may develop sores and feel very dry. You may feel nauseous. We offer a variety of products to add to your goody bag to reduce these uncomfortable physical side effects.

Warmth:  Be sure to include a warm fuzzy blanket, soft and warm socks, fuzzy gloves, a hat or other head cover such as a scarf or head wrap.  Wear comfortable clothes.

Oral Care:  Drink plenty of fluids. Carry a water bottle. Bring a thermos with organic tea or broth. Mouth moisturizer products such as Mouth Kote oral moisturizer and Biotene dry mouth gum can help dry mouth.  Be sure to include a lip balm or lip moisturizing product because you lips can get very dry. Bring a disposable toothbrush for gentle brushing and hydration.

Skin Care:  Different chemotherapy medications can cause a variety of skin issues.  Dry skin is very common. We suggest a hand moisturizer such as a tube of Atopalm Moisturizing Hand Treatment. If you are experiencing hand/foot syndrome we suggest Soothing Balm by Lindiskin Lindiskin face serums (lavender or citrus) are very helpful for acneform rash. Don’t forget to pack a small hand sanitizer.

Antinausea Products (to combat CINV):  Biobands are clinically proven, effective acupressure wristbands that provide relief of nausea associated with chemotherapy. Queasy Drops are also an effective way to relieve nausea associated with chemo. They also help to alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

Overall Comfort:  Bring a large tote bag with compartments to organize and carry all of your items. Bring a travel pillow.  Don’t forget individual packs of tissues.


In addition to personal care products to alleviate physical discomfort, we offer a few products to boost your mental, spiritual and emotional state of mind.

To Pass the Time:  Ask a friend to accompany you to treatment on occasion.  If you will be alone, be sure to bring a variety of things that can help you pass the time.  You might not feel like concentrating too deeply so bring a variety of different types of distractions – some that might require focus, some that require less engagement.  Choose as many or as few of the following:  An ipod, an ipad or tablet, a Kindle, a book, magazines, and/or a journal. If you like to draw, bring a sketchbook. We also suggest bringing pictures on electronic media or a photo album to surround yourself with pictures of loved ones.

Spiritual and Breathing: There are a number of CD’s, ipod downloads, and cell phone apps that can help with visualization and breathing.  Both can be very helpful during chemotherapy treatment.  Whip Cancer is an example of a visualization app which can help empower patients and reduce stress. The Breathe With Purpose CD is helpful for stress reduction, visualization, and meditation. There are numerous other apps for visualization, stress reduction, and meditation to explore.


Many oncologists recommend that cancer patients avoid refined sugar. Therefore we do not suggest baked goods or candy. They are often recommended by others, but we feel strongly that more healthy food options should be considered.  Sugary drinks are not recommended either.

A cancer patient may become very sensitive to smells so we do not suggest perfumes or flowers of any kind.


We have researched and reviewed products for many years to find personal care products that are effective in reducing and relieving the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy treatment. We invite you to visit our website at to see all of the products that meet our high standards. We hope that the suggestions in this blog piece will help to make your chemotherapy journey more tolerable and comfortable.

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About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses.  In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

Cancer Pre-Treatment Check List – 6 Tips To Make Your Life Easier Once You Begin Treatments

Breast Cancer Pre-Treatment Check ListBy Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. There are so many questions swirling through your mind and so many things to put in order. Here is a short list of 6 tips suggested by other patients to help make your treatment both more comfortable and better organized.

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Medications and their Side Effects
    If you are going to receive chemotherapy, find out the names of your medications. Ask your oncologist or oncology nurse about the expected side effects so that you can prepare for them mentally and research some products that might help to reduce the side effects. If you are going to receive radiation, find out the duration of the sessions and what the expected effect on your skin will be, and how you can mitigate side effects. Take very good notes when you speak to your oncology team about your treatment and diagnosis.
  2. Schedule a dentist appointment
    Cancer treatment can cause side effects in your mouth.  A good cleaning and dental checkup before treatment starts can help prevent painful mouth problems. A dentist can help you protect your mouth, teeth, and jaw bones from damage caused by head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Serious side effects in the mouth can delay, or even stop cancer treatment. It will be difficult to receive dental procedures during cancer treatment. Your dentist may also give you important tips to protect your mouth during treatment and to help you care for possible mouth problems. Ask your cancer care team to stop smoking or chewing tobacco. People who do not use tobacco have fewer mouth problems. You can view some oral care products that have been specially developed for oral care during oncology by clicking here.
  3. Order some new products in advance to test them to see if you have any reactions to them, and to see if you like their feel and other characteristics.
    Research and order skin care, hair care, oral care, anti-nausea, and nutritional products in advance so you are prepared with products to help soothe potential side effects.  Test them on your skin, scalp, and mouth before you start treatment to be sure that they agree with you. Clear the use of them with your oncology professionals.  You will be happy and relieved to have them once you begin treatment.
  4. Make a List of Things that will need to be done and circulate it to friends and relatives so they can sign up to help you
    Treatment will probably make you tired. Frequently friends and relatives want to help, but they don’t know what to do. Here’s your chance to help them help you. Make a list of things that you might need help with and dates that you will need help. The more specific you are with dates and times, the easier it will be for people to help.  Circulate the list to friends and relatives by email and invite them to sign up. Here are some ideas to include:  grocery shopping, baby sitting, driving carpools, rides to and from doctor appointments, rides to and from chemo, company during chemo, dropping off dinner for the family, doing laundry, helping the kids with homework, or other things that might be specific to you or your family.  Don’t be afraid to ask for little favors because people don’t want to be intrusive but they do want to help!  Even better……ask a friend to organize this schedule for you!
  5. Create a Treatment Goody Bag for Yourself
    Put together a tote bag of items that you might want to bring with you to treatment to make yourself more comfortable, and also to help you pass the time.  Here are a few suggestions to get started:  a blanket, hat, gloves, warm socks, a water bottle, sucking candies or mouth moisturizer spray, reading material, listening material, and a journal.  We will expand on this section in our next blog post where we will give more descriptive product suggestions and ideas.
  6. Meet with a Naturopathic Doctor
    A Naturopathic Doctor can help to improve the efficacy of treatment, lessen side effects and also to help you devise a wellness plan going forward. He or she will take a more holistic view of your body and give you product and supplement suggestions that might not included in the treatment provided by your oncology team.  Integrative medicine, practiced by many ND’s is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.  A consultation with a naturopathic doctor will open your eyes to complementary approaches which can sustain you through treatment and beyond. Your oncology team focuses on getting rid of your cancer – your can help you protect the rest of your body and prevent unnecessary damage.

Each of these 6 tips should help to reduce the uncertainty and confusion that come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan. Try to organize and simplify your daily schedule whenever possible. Don’t forget to ask for help!

Margot Malin is CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.  Lots To Live For sells personal care products to reduce and relieve the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer therapy.  We deliver comfort during cancer. Please view our website at Please visit us on Facebook at

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