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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

What To Pack In A Chemo Bag: 18 Suggestions

Written by Oluwatoyin Joy Oke on 
12th December, 2022
Updated: 4th February, 2024
Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Oncologists often suggest chemotherapy as a treatment option for cancer patients. Many uncertainties go with chemo treatment and chemo sessions, especially chemo infusion which can drain you both physically and mentally.

Being told that your treatment plan includes chemotherapy is gut-wrenching. Chemo treatment is definitely not fun, but if you create a well-prepared chemo pack, you might feel more comfortable and at ease.

So you may wonder, "How do I prepare for my hospital visit? What do I need to take? How do I make my visit more comfortable? What is a chemo bag?"

A chemo bag contains essentials, personal documents, and materials, which will make your hospital stay during chemotherapy treatments feel easy and comfortable.

This article advises what to put in your chemo bag to help you relax during your chemo treatment, which could last several hours. It also gives ideas on how to pass the time.

So let's get right into it. Here are 18 suggestions that you might want to pack.

Important documents

Most cancer centers have electronic data for cancer patients. For easy access, you could pack a multi-file organizer to keep your medication lists, insurance documents, test results, medical records, and other essential documents.

A multi-file pack may be handy if you use different cancer centers for your cancer treatment.

Pack comfortable wear and a blanket

Oncology centers are often cold, and chemo's side effects can make you chilly. It might be nice to have a jacket or sweater to change into if you feel too cold. If you also decide to sleep during your cancer treatment, you will feel more comfortable if you have your own blanket with you to stay warm and feel at home.

Sometimes chemotherapy sessions may last long hours, and you may need to stay overnight; packing warm clothes to change into and a soft blanket to cover yourself can make you feel comfortable. Please ensure the clothes you bring will make it easy to access the infusion port and your arm.

You can also pack in your chemo bag items such as socks, hats, scarves, and gloves; this will increase your body heat during your treatments. The socks and gloves become helpful if you develop cold feet and hands. The hat or scarf can help keep your head warm, reducing the risk of hair loss.

Pillow or neck rest

During chemo days, a soft neck pillow can provide support and comfort, especially if you are sitting for long, and the pillow will be great when you need to sleep.

Eye mask

Bring along an eye mask to your treatment, especially if you want to block out light and reduce tension during your appointment at the health care center.

Healthy snacks

During your stay in the hospital, you're likely to have an appetite. Having healthy snacks on hand can help satisfy your hunger.

Look towards packing light snacks rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber. You can bring with sweet to salty snacks.

Packing snacks to eat during your sessions can keep you strong and energized, making sure there is something you like to eat at hand. Below are some ideas for you:

  • Cereal
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Muffins
  • Soups
  • Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Oatmeal

Items to help with chemo nausea and chemo mouth

Nausea and metallic mouth taste can be common side effects of chemotherapy and it could be wise to take some items to relieve these. These might include the following:-

  • peppermint tea
  • ginger biscuits
  • lemon drops
  • ginger biscuits
  • oral sprays

Water and healthy drinks

The chemo drugs can make you dehydrated and can even make you develop a headache. To help with this, pack a water bottle so you can always have drinking water handy, stay hydrated and relieve any headache. In addition, having a water bottle handy can help you drink more, relieve dry mouth and remove the toxic residue of your chemo drugs. You may want to add any of the following drinks in addition to water:

  • Yogurt
  • Juice
  • Ginger drink
  • Smoothie

Medical facemask and hand sanitizer

It is not uncommon to experience lower immunity when going through chemotherapy treatment. Packing a medical facemask and a bottle of hand sanitizer is an excellent way to deal with this. It can come in handy when you're around someone sick and help keep your hands clean.

Numbing cream

Never forget to pack in your chemo bag a port-numbing cream if you feel uncomfortable with repeated IV placement and lab draws. You might also want tp bring a small square of plastic wrap to cover the cream from touching your clothes until your port gets accessed. But before you get any numbing cream, be sure to inform your health care professionals; they can better tell you what is best for you.

Skin care items

One of the side effects of chemo treatment is dry skin. Additionally, constant washing of the hands and a cold chemo room can cause more dryness. Remember to bring along unscented lotion to moisturize your skin and body. To prevent chapped lips, pack your favorite lip balm.

You should also pack personal care and oral hygiene products such as your toothbrush and paste, or you can carry a small bottle of alcohol-free mouthwash or mouth sprays to eliminate bad taste and reduce dry mouth. Think of other personal things to pack in your chemo bag to help your body and keep your skin from drying.

A plastic bag

You may not experience nausea or vomiting due to the advance in chemotherapy treatment. But be prepared for the worst-case scenario by bringing a plastic bag.

5 things that can help pass the time

When you are stationed in one place the hours seem to move more slowly. What can help you pass the time without being bored out of your body because of your cancer treatment? Check out the following helpful ideas, and pack the ones that suit you the most:-

Reading materials

Chemo sessions give cancer patients enough time to do things they may typically not have time for. One way to pass the time during chemotherapy session is to read.

Have a book, novel, magazine, or some other exciting reading things packed in your chemo bag so that you have something to read. Don't feel disappointed in yourself if you plan on reading but end up sleeping. Just allow your body to decide what you can do, and don't push your body.

Also of note is that reading materials can provide entertainment during long treatment hours. Since your infusion room can be quiet, it could be the perfect place to read. Reading could become beneficial in keeping your mind off your treatment. However, if you do experience brain fog, don't feel like you need to read, just follow what your body wants to do.


Keeping a journal on your cancer treatment is the best way to walk through your emotions during chemo. Research studies have shown that writing down feelings, emotions, and experiences about cancer can help improve mental health.

Writing down what is going on in your life can help keep your mind occupied with something other than cancer and chemotherapy appointments.

It's also an excellent way to jot down information quickly, instructions given, and other complex medical terminology. So never forget to carry a note and pen in your pack. Check out these beautiful journals you can buy for yourself.


Going to your cancer center for chemotherapy treatment with mind games or brain puzzlers could be a way to prevent chemo brain fog which is one of the side effects of chemotherapy, and to pass the time while having fun.

Try to carry in your chemo bag some brain teasers like sudoku, crossword puzzles, word puzzles, scramble, or card games you can play with friends and family members.

Remember that playing these games is for entertainment, so follow your energy and stop any game that becomes too upsetting to you. You also need to recognize if you get chemo brain and listen to your body.

Electronic gadgets

When packing your bag, never forget your electronic devices, which include the following:

  • Cell phone
  • Phone charger
  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Tablet

The above devices have been helpful tools in passing the time. Ensure you load your devices with your favorite music, meditation, and movies.

Your cell phone can be used to communicate with friends and family, so it will be good to use other devices to surf the internet, watch movies, or even listen to music.

The main reason for bringing in those things is that your mind can be distracted and relaxed during a chemotherapy session. Listening to music or meditation can help relieve stress and enjoy peace during your time at the oncology center. These devices can help you stay occupied as you surf the internet for movies, magazines to read or even latest music album.

So bring along any device that you have, and never forget your headphones.

Hobby materials

Being busy with your favorite hobby during chemo sessions is a great way to pass the time and remove your focus from the infusion room into something you enjoy.

If you love to color, don't forget to bring your color book and other essentials in your chemo bag. You can also use that time to start or finish a crochet work. Do anything you are comfortable with, and take a break when you can't go on.

How to choose your chemo bag

Try to get a bag that is not heavy and that is convenient for your use. Ensure the bag can easily contain all the essential things you plan to bring to your health care unit for your chemo session.

Pick a bag that will make you happy as you take it with you, and there are some great suggestions for you here.

Final thoughts

A well-packed chemo bag can make the cancer journey for chemotherapy patients both bearable and entertaining.

You need not overwhelm yourself with everything above, and you can add other things to make your infusions at the cancer center go smoothly.

Try to pack your bag based on what is most important to you, and you can ask friends and family members to help you get the things you may need.

Further reading

Top Twenty Items For A Chemotherapy Care Package

What Is Chemotherapy And Why Is It Given To People With Cancer?

68 Best Gifts For Chemo Patients

How To Support Someone Going Through Chemo: Easy Tips to Show You Care

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Dealing With Short And Long Term Issues

Chemotherapy Guides

How Chemotherapy Affects Your Skin And What You Can Do About It

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