Comfort During Chemo: What to Bring

Chemotherapy is a daunting and often uncomfortable process, so anything you can do for yourself or a loved one fighting cancer to make treatment easier is definitely worth doing. 

Make sure your bag is packed with the things you'll likely need or want close at hand before you attend each session to help you focus on healing instead of that thing you forgot.

1. Clothing

Comfortable clothes are a must during chemo, especially if your sessions will last for several hours or require an overnight stay. Choose outfits made of comfortable, breathable materials, like cotton. 

V-neck shirts are a good choice if you have a chest port. Choose shirts that have a low neckline so you won't have to pull on them and stretch them out when your care team hooks equipment up to your port.

Hospital rooms are often chilly, so don't neglect your feet. Warm socks or slippers are a must but choose ones with rubber soles or pads so you don't slip on the hard floors.

If you've experienced hair loss, you may find that your scalp is sensitive or gets cold easily. Cotton caps and silk scarves are good choices that won't cause further irritation. 

2. Skin Care Products

It's common to experience dry skin and lips when undergoing chemo, and you don't want to be scratching or licking your lips constantly during your treatment sessions. Tuck a nice-smelling lip balm and lotion in your bag to apply before and during your session if you need it so you can stay as relaxed as possible. 

3. Food and Drink

It's a good idea to bring snacks and beverages with you, though your treatment center may have vending machines or provide an assortment of snacks and drinks. Choose high-protein snacks to keep your energy up. Consider bringing a bag of hard ginger or peppermint candies to help combat nausea and the metallic taste that often accompanies chemo treatment. Staying hydrated is just as important as getting enough calories. Stay away from soda and other sugary drinks as they may make you more thirsty.

4. Entertainment

Don't go to your chemo sessions with nothing to do. While you may feel tired and sleep through most of your session if you find you can't sleep you won't want to be stuck staring into space. Remember to pack chargers for your phone, tablet, and/or e-reader if your sessions will last several hours or involve an overnight stay. 

If you find it difficult to concentrate on watching movies or reading, check out some audiobooks or podcasts so that you can rest your eyes and still have something to focus on.

To learn more about your chemotherapy appointments, contact a local cancer center.