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Breast cancer

Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

PICC Line - which way to turn

Posted by

Hi, I've very recently been diagnosed with Breast cancer and have had my first two chemotherapy treatments via a canula.  Unfortunately my veins are not good and they have recommended at the hospital that I have a picc line inserted.  While I understand the logic and appreciate it would, if all went well, help me and the drs and nurses, it scares me.  

I am already giving myself daily blood thinning injections due to having been taken off warfarin as I've previously had a replacement heart valve and also a stroke.  From looking at the information and pictures it looks like the line would rest just above my heart.

Does anyone have any advice or guidance which I could use to help me decide what to do please?  I've got to let them know yes or no on Tuesday this coming week as they've an appointment booked for me on the 6th!  

I know it sounds like small fry in the greater scheme of things but it's really making me feel very anxious.

Thank you

Posted by


Firstly welcome to this wonderful site, which is full of information and advice. It has been invaluable to me.

I had a picc line placed 2 weeks ago. Although I dont have your medical issues I found it was the right choice for me. First chemo session I was having the cold cap and when they tried to canulate it took 4 attempts , may of been due to the cold.. I chose to have the picc line as I didnt want to have these issues for the next 7 sessions of chemo.  It is a small surgical procedure done under local anaesthetic. It does sting a little but then I felt nothing through the whole procedure.  You will be asked lots of medical questions beforehand, be told about the procedure and told do's and don'ts.  Ultrasound is then used to locate a suitable vein. Lots of measuring for length of line. After line is inserted you will be sent for an xray to make sure it's correctly in place. I had my second chemo session the following day and I found  it so easy. Negatives are that you do have to have it flushed through weekly so more hospital visits. You may be able to get your gp practice to do it. Be careful not to get it caught when dressing  and you must keep it dry, you will need a plastic sleeve when showering. This will all be explained to you. Positives are that the veins in your hand will not get damaged through chemo. My line is fitted just above my elbow on the inner side of my arm. 

I definately know I made the right choice. Please speak to your oncologist/doctor about all your concerns. Whatever you decide I hope your treatment goes well.

Take care

Linda x

Posted by

Hi Lindyloo

Thank you so much for the welcome and for sharing your experience with me, it means a lot to know I can ask others opinions and find ways of coping with what is to come.  I will speak to the chemo nurses on Tuesday and go on from there.

Thank you x

Posted by

Hi the picc line was amazing for me once it was in... it made it all so easy. Every time you have chemo they just 'plug you in'. It takes minutes. You can also move your arm about more while you are having chemo too. There was no fear of it leaking or anything.  The changing/ cleaning was also totally fine. I got a 'limbo' cover ( your doc can prescribe one) so you can shower or have a bath. Like all these thongs... it's not wonderful, but the best of the options I think!!! 

Posted by

Things!!!!! Not thongs!!