What to Wear During Chemo

By Melissa Walker
Reviewed by Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS

You’ve probably never thought of your upcoming chemo sessions as an excuse to go shopping. But the truth is, choosing the right clothing during chemo treatment can make it tolerable. After all, sitting in a clinic that’s often cold, with ports attached to various parts of your body, can be uncomfortable.

To the rescue: treatment-specific clothing that looks great and takes all your needs into account. Check out these great options:

(Note: Insurance companies often cover two pieces of therapeutic gear per year. Check with your insurance provider to see whether you qualify, and then choose the best clothing for you.)

Drain-friendly garments: Kathy Adams was diagnosed with Stage III–Grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma on her 50th birthday. She quickly learned that women who have mastectomies or radical lumpectomies have tubing and drains embedded near their chests to collect lymphatic fluid. That used to mean pinning the drain to a blouse or tucking it into a waistband—until Kathy created the Cool Chemo Top, with a stylish wrap design that allows built-in, discreet drain pockets. Her Cool Chemo Pants and Cool Chemo Capris also feature the clever pockets.
Confident Clothing Company (confidentclothingcompany.com)

Easy-access sweats: Forget rolling up your sleeves. Libre Clothing has a line of sweatshirts that feature a half zipper down the front and a zipper down the left or right sleeve, providing easy access to IVs and other devices. The company also sells sweaters and pants with zippered access. Bonus: Pockets are lined with cotton for extra warmth.
Libre Clothing (libreclothing.com)

Cozy comfortwear. Deb Papes-Stanzak’s brother, Ron, didn’t need chemo—he needed dialysis—but the experience is similar. And when Deb heard how cold her brother felt during dialysis because of the short-sleeve shirts he wore to provide port access, she decided to make him a custom outfit. Deb, a seamstress with 35 years of experience, created a zippered fleece jacket-and-pant set for her brother. Now, any person receiving medical treatment can get an outfit like Ron’s, made from soft, breathable cotton. The set has hidden arm-, chest- and groin-port zippers on each side, and it has a water-repellent and stain-release finish.
RonWear (ronwear.com)

Published March 2014

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