Cancer patients love luxury too ! Just because your friend has had to exist in a sterile environment, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate luxury – and in spades !

So what can you give them ?

As a patient, one often has the specialist nurse who frowns on anything that has the slightest touch of glamour ! Many is the one who has grabbed a skincare product to search for any suspect ingredients. I try to tell them that any chemicals manufacturers might include, wouldn’t even come within a mile of the poisons that get pumped into our bodies during cancer treatment – but all I get is sour looks ! Or else they tell you piously, “I couldn’t possibly recommend anything commercial”, and get cross when it is pointed out that drug companies are some of the most profitable companies in the world ! But don’t let this put you off. Cancer patients LOVE getting gifts, small or large.

A few ‘rules’ to help in choosing a present

If a product is scented – either buy something your friend already uses, or look for the ‘old’ flower perfumes. Lavender and rose in particular were often, and still are, used as antiseptics. Most manufacturers have taken parabens out of products because of some dodgy publicity. However, if you ask a nurse to show you ingredients for IVs, often they contain parabens ! Or ask if they recommend Blueberrries – apparently they contain parabens ! However, it makes sense to avoid the ‘chemical’ designer scents that are around, particulary those ‘celebrity’ perfumes that are produced just for Christmas market. These can sometimes produce allergies. Look for old-fashioned ones, that have stood the test of time. If anything has a screw top, or is difficult to open, try to make sure the person’s hands are strong enough to cope.