is a port necessary for giving chemo?

hello. my mom is undergoing her treatment right now. in my mom's case a mastectomy has been done n lymph nodes have been removed. prior to surgery she underwent 4 cycles of chemo n now another 4 cycles are to be given to her. she is now scared because the doctor said that since her veins are thin they will install a port near her heart for giving subsequent chemos. is it necessary?

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  • I have just completed my treatment including radiation a month back. It is true that to take chemotherapy through thin veins is really not desired. I have been left with marks and one may be blocked vein. Port is a better option in your mother,s case I feel. Though I was also told that they would do a port for me too but when chemo started they did not do the port as a result of which finding veins for the last 2 chemo was very difficult. Moreover since they will use only one arm for chemo. Is your Ma being treated in India or abroad ? If in India where? Hope to hear from you and wishing my friend a very speedy recovery and all the strength.

  • Thank you for your response and your wishes for my mom. She is being treated in India itself at Surat in Gujarat. how long did your treatment take? and how many cycles of chemo and radiation where prescribed to you?

  • Sometimes, when no venous access is available, a PORT becomes necessary.

    For a breast cancer patient, we cannot use the hand on the operated side, for giving chemo. The opposite hand is the only way out. Chemo cannot be given by leg. So if there are no veins remaining at all, and it is becoming too difficult, PORT may be necessary.

    In fact, to most of my own patients, especially those in whom I anticipate problems of chemotherapy administration due to feeble veins (and even in those who have good veins), I insist on inserting a PORT right away during the first surgery, so a separate anesthesia and hospitalization is avoided. Also, with PORT, life becomes more comfortable for patient as the umpteen number of pricking is avoided. PORT makes life much better. Besides, we usually give the second half of chemo as 12 cycles instead of 4 cycles (the total dose of second 4 cycles is divided into 12 cycles, so side effects are much much less), so PORT is very comfortable.

    My suggestion, that if only 4 cycles are remaining, you may want to push the limits and try from hand. But if PORT seems needed, might as well put it now, as it will decrease trauma due to chemo.And do not worry about the procedure of PORT installation. Any Surgical Oncologist will do it very well. There are usually no problems.

  • thank you for your response doctor. can you tell me if general anesthesia will be given for the surgery of local would be sufficient. actually it was only after 4 cycles of chemo that our oncologist told us about the port and when she was taken for her mastectomy he had forgotten about the port now he is saying that another surgery would be needed and mom is a little scared for having to go through the procedure again. also how long will the port be required after chemo therapy is over. the idea of having a foreign entity inside her body is scaring my mom.

    also as you mentioned above that the total dose will be divided into 12 cycles so does it mean that those 12 cycles continue as per the same gap of 3 weeks in between.?

  • 1. We do PORT insertions under sedation, no need of General Anesthesia. But it's a matter of convenience. Some surgeons are not comfortable and may want full General Anesthesia.

    2. All Medical oncologists may not divide the 4 three weekly doses (1 cycle every 3 weeks x 4 cycles) into 12 weekly (1 cycle every week x 12 cycles)doses. Let your oncologist decide how he / she wants to give the drug.

  • hello Shreyat

    Chemo port makes chemo and blood test more comfortable, because there is no needle stick. wish your Mom to get well soon.

  • Thank you for your response and your wishes for my mom.

  • Hey kalpanabakshi I agree with you and Doc regarding the port. Yes too many needle sticks in way of chemo and blood tests etc. Are you in Delhi or elsewhere? How long ago did you go through the Marathon treatment? Wishing you and Shreyat's mother all the best.

  • hello rgci13

    I am in lucknow. I am a cancer survivour. Completed my treatment 1.5yrs back. Thanks for your good wishes.

  • Shreyat's is your mom in Delhi or elsewhere?

  • no we in Surat, Gujarat.

  • Oh really I was in Surat in the middle of March. Had gone to Ankelshwar to meet my cousins staying there. Does Surat have good Oncology department inthe hospitals?