Vascular access port

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Hiya, new here, in treatment for about a month, breast cancer (tripe negative). I've had several treatments, as I am going with the every 3 week cycle, and have additional treatments every week - immunotherapy to be exact. So far, I'm coping with finding veins and drawing blood, but I guess it's going to only get more difficult? I've never been too good with needles either, always fainted. But now I've gained some mental immunity to the whole thing, but still it's not my favourite thing in the world (whose is...?). I have about 5 treatments left in this cycle and then 4 of the next cycle. Is there a point in putting in a vascular access port? They offered this in case my anxiety about needles gets the best of me, but I can't seem to make a decision - I keep thinking, just one more treatment, one more. Anyone here with vascular access port - recommending, not recommending? Additionally, any tips on how to keep your veins in the best shape? I apply the gel with heparin, drink beetroot juice and so forth, but maybe you've got some of your own tricks? Thanks a million everyone xx

  • Please bear in mind to access a port a needle will be used. To place them it is a surgical procedure so as you are on chemo and at certain times in the cycle you are vulnerable to infection so the timing is important either straight after chemo or just before next cycle. On being a little cautious in my advice I think ports are great easy to live with and less maintenance 

    you could research picc lines they are a one off needle then accessed like a cannula but can stay in for a year  and are in upper arm 

  • thank you for this! I'll look into the picc lines, as nobody really suggested anything like this. I'm still conflicted on this topic to be honest, I'm aware that a needle is used for the port, but I'm just looking for ways to eliminate the struggle of looking for a vein (they became less and less visible each time) and potential problem of having to change a cannula if the chemo doesn't want to flow properly. 

  • I have a portacath which I had fitted before I started treatment for my primary cancer. It’s been excellent. Unfortunately I soon discovered I was metastatic which meant I kept the port in situ. It’s been in place for over 2 years without causing an issue. When I am not in active treatment it needs flushing every 4-6 weeks. No issue with getting it wet (I didn’t want a PICC because of the limitations it would have placed on me). The procedure to fit the portacath took about an hour, done under local anaesthetic. 

  • Hi. I had a PICC fitted before I started chemo. I hated the thought of it. I'm not going to lie...I hated the thing whilst I had it. HOWEVER it was the best thing I did. It literally is just plug and go. I didn't have any needles during my chemo treatment. I'd highly recommend. 

    It didn't hurt going in. It didn't hurt coming out. 

    Oh, and no infections from it. It was a little limiting but for me, that was only the shower. You can get a cover for that though. I don't swim or go to the gym so that wasn't an issue. 

  • Thanks for this! You make it sound like an ideal solution, though I imagine is a bit uncomfortable on the day to day basis? How did you cope with every day life with the PICC? Also, did it hurt when they were fitting it?

  • Hi. It wasn't really a bother. Water is tricky as you can't get it wet. It didn't hurt at any point. It didn't hurt going in at all. It didn't hurt coming out. It was covered with dressings and I also wore a picc cover made from material. These are really cheap from Annabandana. I had to have brown dressings covering mine as I was allergic to the white dressings. I've put up a photo. I ended up with the tube being wrapped up and flapping with one brown dressing. The blue thing over my wrist is the cover. Pull that up and it is out of view and can't be pulled etc. 

  • Oh, and it isn't uncomfortable at all. I could even sleep on that arm once I'd got used to it being there.