Port a cath

Sadly am having to renter chemo. The next regime is weekly taxol. Last regime 3xweekly carbo/taxol, cannulation was horrible for me having quite small veins in my hands. 2 of which now collapsed.

I am thinking of having a port a cath rather than PICC line.

What are the experiences of other braver ladies on this site. Is one tolerated better, I know will be a personal choice. I am really cowardly about having any of these done and want to minimise my stress/pain.

Really appreciate any advice or suggestions.

Keep the faith.


33 Replies

  • Having a port fitted was the best move I ever made.

    Easy to fit and no trouble so far, had it for a year now.

    Can swim, bathe etc. Better option than picc line I think.

    Good luck xxxxx

  • Hi, my veins were also shot during first line chemo and I had a PICC line which wasn't good for me as they nicked a lymph node when fitting it and it constantly wept serous liquid - I had to have large sanitary pads stuck around my arm and replace them constantly. That was depressing and horrid and I had the PICC line removed.

    Please be assured that what happened to me was a rare thing to happen but I'm going to get a Port if I'm put back on weekly chemo and not the clinical trial ( by mouth) drug.

    Have a good discussion with your team to weigh up all benefits but it sounds as if your veins need a rest.

    Take care

    Clare xx

  • Thank you for this. I am hoping to be admitted to Octopus trial, a by mouth pill (placebo or drug) in conjunction with the weekly taxol.

    I wish you very good luck with your treatment.


  • My veins were shot through the whole experience and I was told a port was the way to go ,never had one in the end,but was advised it was the gentler option, hope that helps,

    Carole xxx

  • Thank you Carole. Why did you not have one in the end. Hopefully because treatment successful?


  • Scraped through without one! Was being advised to have one,but just didn't want another procedure and found a good guy that was good at getting a vein to respond.I think if I have a re occurance it will be a different story.I have to say it was a worry them finding a vein every treatment day,you have to weigh up your options and consider what is best for you,just being honest,

    Wish you all be best,

    Carole xxx

  • Am also interested as to alternatives if needing more treatment . My last chemo took 3 nurses 2 attempts each and 2 hours to put in the canular and I had a very bruised arm !

    Kim x

  • Hi Kim,

    Know what you mean,once the canular was in that was half of my fear over.If as I said I re occur I will look at options and a port will be my first choice


  • Hi Teresa,

    I know how you feel Even When I go for a blood test the other day took 3 attempts to take blood.

    My veins are shoots also and I would get myself into a state before each chemo, so my oncologist suggest a port, I was concerned about having a port put in,

    But I have had it in now for 2 years and it was the best thing I did, went into hospital

    day surgery ,was given a local by needle, you don't see the port being put in as it was covered, all I felt was a slit pulling.

    In the 2 years I've had it in no problems you shower as normal now when I go in for chemo it's in fist go.

    I'm about to start single Taxol for 12 weeks .

    I hope I have help to ease your mind about the port.

    Cheers Lorraine xx

  • echoing the other ladies' remarks. have had mine about a year. no problem having it placed, thanks to sedation.

    site somewhat sore for a wk. or so afterward, but no problems at all since. wouldnt be without it...( oh, that i could be, but as it is)...

  • I've had a port for 5 years.

    Just have it flushed every 8 weeks when not in treatment or I can use it for blood tests.

    It is very easy having a port. Took me a week or so to sleep comfortable with it but after that no problem.

    It can be accessed for MRI and CTscans as well.

    I can swim with it unlike with a picline.

    The oncology nurses insisted to hang onto it after treatment because l was very likely to get a recurrence.

    It makes treatment that much easier!


  • I live in US. Ports are standard procedure for chemo here. I am 6mos out from last chemo. Currently NED. Keeping port in place indefinitely in case the bugger returns. I've had this in my chest for 15 months along with an abdominal port temporarily for IP chemo. There is NO PAIN or inconvenience. I LOVE this thing. No infections or irritations!!! I'm in no rush to get rid of it either since this disease reoccurs most of the time.

  • Dear Teresa, I too am a great fan of my port as my veins were a mess from previous chemo. I wanted a port fitted again as soon as I knew I needed chemo. It's great and I've had no problems with it at all.

    It certainly made chemo easy and far less stressful than finding a vein and cannulating each time. There is one negative and that's the delays it causes. Because it's not common here (I'm based in the U.K.) then it's only nurses in the chemo unit that can access. So it's adds time to appointments .

    I can't recommend a port highly enough though.

    T. X

  • I have had a port for a year .It was the best thing I could have done.

    After 7 years of on and off chemo my veins were shot,it would sometimes take over an hour and 4 or 5 attempts to find a vein.

    It did not hurt at all to be inserted and it was accessed the next day.

    I forget it is there when not being used.It is good to be able to soak in the bath with no problems.

  • Hi T, I know what you mean about the veins and the pain, I had weekly taxol for 18 weeks and towards the end really struggled with veins that went into hiding and it was really painful after 6 attempts to get the cannula in. If I have to have treatment again I would definitely have a line fitted. Speak to your team and got all the facts on which type of line would be best for you. Sending big hugs and love ❤️ xx Jane

  • Go for it! I have a pot on since June 2015 and I don't have any problem . I've had to have it accessed many times apart from normal bloods and 3 weekly treatment (eg intravenous antibiotics) and I was so grateful

  • I hit submit reply be mistake before I finished last post! I was so grateful that I didn't have to go through the trauma of getting the cannula in.

    Good luck with your treatment!


  • Hello Teresa_K

    I had a portacath put in last august. A relatively quick procedure under sedation. I resented the idea at first as I felt it would be a constant reminder. It is and so what!

    Each week I attend for Taxol, blood tests and pre meds. A different needle is used for CT scan procedures, which negates some of the discomfort one might experience with the tracer. It does make life so much easier for all concerned. A small prick when the Huber needle is inserted and then a flush through at the end.

    One cannot lie on the side of insertion. It's more friend than foe 😷😈😊.

    I hope that it works well for you if you go for it.


  • hello Teresa I have had my power port for 7 years now have it flushed every 6 weeks when not having chemo Wouldnt be without it After seeing other people having all sorts of hassells with their veins Im very thankful for mine Ive never had any trouble lying on my side with it Good luck

  • I had a PICC line fitted during 1st line platin/taxol/Beva as my veins collapsed during my 1st cycle. It was fine until just before the last cycle when it started to "puss" (sorry) so it was removed. Struggled on through last chemo and following Bevas. Had to give up Beva due to first recurrence and have had a Port fitted in preparation for 2nd line platin/caelyx. Fitting was fine and have so far had the contrast medium through it for a CT scan which was very straightforward. I say go for it - good luck 🍀

    Janine x

  • Thank you everyone for replying - it has been enormously helpful. Such positive answers, I have the confidence to go ahead with this now. It feels the right solution.

    Thank you again

    Love to you all.


  • Hi Teresa, I am so sorry you have to go thru treatment again and our veins do take a beating, don't they?

    I had a port put in after my first chemo during my debulking surgery. My treatment plan was 2 IV Taxol/carbo then 4 IP. One month apart.

    I understood the purpose of the port for the IP part of the chemo as it had to be delivered straight to my abdomen but I still had to have my veins attacked for Saline solutions and premeds., so I didn't escape it entirely.

    I am not familiar with any other kind of port but mine was a pain in the arse because none of the nurses at the cancer center were taught how to access it. It was a hilarious session of repeated attempts before they called my Dr's office nurse to run over and access it.

    But other than that I had no problems with the port. It was attached to a rib under my left boob and invisible and painless under a layer of skin. I had it taken out 2 months after chemo ended.

    I am sure there are lots of ladies here who can help you with the info you need. I have read lots of positive posts about ports.

    Good Luck!

  • Can highly recommend a port. Only had one chemo session without thank God as it was punishing on my vein. I have no regrets whatsoever. X

  • To Port or Not To Port - My wife had two ports , one for IV and another for IP. The IP fella behaved well until the sixth and last chemo, job done, port removed . It was the IV port which gave no end of trouble. To start with loss of voice and severe hoarseness thereafter, due to a vocal chord being temporarily compromised during implant. Thereafter, an infection in the IV port causing undiagnosed fever. Finally taking solace, as well is well that ends well as she has NED for now. So, bottom line, Ports are a double edged sword......


  • Oh so sorry you have to have more chemo. However don't worry about having a PICC line put it if you decide to go ahead. I've had 2 now and it was not painful at all. I could not believe the line had been inserted when the nurse did it. All I felt was a small scratch. Nothing at all as the line went through my vein. My husband watched but I couldn't. When I was told it was in I couldn't believe it was done. I am very soft and squimish. It was not as bad as having the cannula in my flat veins as the nurse tried over and over to get it in. I hated having the cannula put in and made me dread going for chemo. Going for the chemo is much easier now. The district nurse flushes the line each week and all my pre chemo blood samples are taken from it too.

    I might just have been lucky with mine but so far no problems with the line. The carbo side effects are horrid though.

    Good luck with your treatment.


  • Hi you've had lots of helpful comments so far and it will be a personal choice in the end. Just adding that I have had 2 ports, the current one for the last 9 months and never had any problems so far. They give you sedation for the procedure, yes it is a bit uncomfortable and you have to be careful for a couple of weeks until it heals over but it is really nothing compared with the major surgery! One thing I would recommend is ask if they have the flatter slightly smaller type available - I have this type now and it is far less noticeable than the first one. I have mine in chest but read if a lady who had hers below her underarm which might be a good option. I think for weekly chemo it really would be a godsend for you as it was for me all in all.

    Hope all goes well, we could do without any of it but if we have to have it make it as easy as possible !

    Love, Madeline xx

  • Hello Theresa-

    I had a port put in last May. It was wonderful to have everything done through the port, chemo, blood draw and CT dye. Just get the numbing cream to put on 1/2 hour before anything procedure. I was told chemo is so toxic that it kills smaller veins in arms, hence to port. There is nothing hanging out of you, just a small bump under the skin. No problems so far.

    The only thing that happened to me was that I woke up during the procedure and said ow, that hurts and swung my arm up over my head and slugged the doc. I asked him about it later and he said I had a 4" needle in you, lol. He is still talking to me though.

    You will do fine-XX Carol

  • Good tip about the cream.

    Poor doctor!!!

    Thank you


  • After having a lot of treatment having cannula became really hard and painful. I had Hickman lines fire and removed twice and then 2 years ago had a portacath. Best thing I did. Had no problems, it hardly shows, can swim, go on holiday, V little risk of infection and really not painful when they insert the needle in the PPT for treatment or to take blood. Only needs flushing every 4 weeks. Only down side has been that not all hospitals and nurses can use them

    All the best Francesca

  • Go for it. I much prefer mine to the PICC and I've had both. The PICC means weekly flushes, the port-a-cath monthly. I can swim with the port-a-cath - been in the sea several times since -and sometimes just splashing about in the waves with grandchildren, or throwing stones with as big a splash as we can with the youngest. I would have had to be worrying about a PICC. You can just forget about the port-a-cath, whereas the PICC's always there. Also when they put my PICC in I didn't know about the port-a -cath and they told me I couldn't change because the PICC was already there. But they had to because I developed allergic reactions to every dressing they tried. The only downside is that the PICC comes out at the end of treatment whereas the port -a-cath stays in but that hasn't been a problem for me, as I've only been off treatment for a few months since. So if you anticipate a long remission there's an advantage to the PICC. Either takes away the worry I always had that they weren't going to find a vein and I wouldn't get my treatment, and the insertion is less painful than the cannulation cos they give you a local anaesthetic. I've had mine over 2 years now. The sister in charge was reluctant. It's more expensive. But in the long run I think it saves them a lot of work time.

  • Hi, sorry you have to start chemo asgain. I haven't had a portacath but I have had a PICC line. It was very easy having it inserted, they use an USS machine to guide them. I had no pain and it definitely made life a lot easier for me as my veins were collapsing too. I would definitely opt for this again. Good luck. Ann xx

  • I have had a port for about 2 months and my last 3 rounds of chemo were administered via the port. My veins were shot after my first round of chemo - I do not have ovarian rather a rare form of adrenal carcinoma that is seen in 1 of 2 million people! My treatments are 4 days in a row, 8 hours each day. Needless to say after my first 12 treatments my veins were useless. I currently have spots of hardness and phlebitis on y veins and sometimes have to use warm compresses to reduce the swelling and pain. I have not had any of these issues with the port. On the first day of chemo the port is accessed and the needle remains in for the entire 4 days of treatment. On the last day the needle is removed, a band-aid placed on top and I am able to take shower the next day.

    If the chemo is going to be over an extended period of time, then a port is truly the way to go. I hope this helps; good luck!

  • I had a port put in in 2015 during surgery at City of Hope in CA. Would not go without it. It will be in my body when they bury me. Nurses say less opportunity for infection plus it's so much more comfortable. Started weekly taxol 5 weeks ago. Affects my Gastro so I am told to make sure I get proteins.

You may also like...