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port vs pick line

monty gizmo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

First timer, can anyone tell me the pros and cons of port vs pick.
Thanks in advance.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2848
Joined: Jan 2010

I had a port, which is surgically implanted and remains for as long as needed. Some people have them for years, even at times when they are not undergoing chemo. The only maintenance they require is periodic flushing. I had no problems with mine. With anal cancer, only two rounds of chemo are done for treatment that does not involve metastasis. My doc gave me the okay to have my port taken out 3 months after treatment ended. I don't know from personal experience much about picc lines, but I'm pretty sure they are inserted (via arm) and removed before and after each round of chemo. However, I do know of people mentioning that they kept theirs in between round one and two. Other than that, I don't know anymore about picc lines. I think most oncologists have preferences--I know my doc didn't really give me a choice.

monty gizmo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks for the detailed information. I do have the choice and this helps to know what I
should do. I'll be finding out about alot this week, and probably have more questions.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 519
Joined: Apr 2009

i had picc line and hated it. at MD Anderson if chemo is 6 weeks or under they want you to use picc line. too many people waiting to get a port ( the ones that have a lot longer round of chemo). they say it is less of a surgery but it did bother me the whole time and mine slipped and had to be redone . it has to be flushed each day but you can do it yourself and it has to be cleaned really well every week or sooner. my picc line stayed in for both rounds of chemo (was never removed) but did come out the day that my last round was finished. BIG MISTAKE because i got so sick the very next day and i was put into ICU and they had to put multiple IV's in my arms over and over because my veins would blow out. so if you get a picc line keep it far a little while after to be sure that you do not get sick enough to need iv's. my choice would be a port. sephie

monty gizmo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

Thank you for your taking the time to help. This week will be a lot more decisions to make. Hope I make the right ones.

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 501
Joined: Jun 2011

I had the port. It was placed under my left collarbone, in the fleshy part of that area. It didn't hurt, but I knew it was there. It was kind of like 'ewww' - but it did not hurt. After removal, it left a little dent in the skin - it's noticeable, but not very much so. I'm actually kind of proud of it, in a weird sort of way :)

I was never offered the choice of a picc line or a port, but I'm glad I had the port. The picc line sounds more uncomfortable than the port.

The port has a plastic area on the front of it. When you start chemo, the nurse puts a needle through your skin and into the plastic area of the port - it's only a small sting in the skin, not bad at all. The needle comes out but leaves a tube (that was attached to it) sticking into the port that in turn goes to a small pump that you wear like a fanny pack. The chemo drug is in the pump and is drawn into your body through the tube and port over a period of 4-5 days.

It's not fun, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be - really!
And I believe they do the blood draws that you'll need to have done for the next few months through the port too (can't really remember...).

You're gonna be okay - follow the doctors' orders, ask questions (the nurses are particularly wonderful at answering questions, as are the members of this board), eat well, rest, and remember that it will be over soon.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2848
Joined: Jan 2010

If you get a port, ask for a prescription for Lidocaine cream to rub on the port about an hour before it's stuck anytime (for chemo or blood draws). The cream will numb it and you'll barely feel the stick.

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 743
Joined: May 2011

I have some lidocaine prescribed by my GI. I'm going to use it next time. Why not? Why even have the prick? Great suggestion.

I wasn't given a choice either. I am very happy with the port. I think it is an amazingly sophisticated procedure though and would want it done where they do them all day.

monty gizmo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

Sounds like the port would be the right choice. Thank you so much for your kind words.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1251
Joined: May 2009

Hello, I have a port and have had it since 5-18-09. I have not had it removed yet and will have it removed after my 3 year colonoscopy in 4-18-12 is clear. I just have it flushed every 8 weeks and forget its there. The oncology nurse sprays freeze spray before inserting the needle and there is just a slight pinch.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 519
Joined: Apr 2009

hey, i had to chime in again. get the port. if i had known back in 2009 that all i had to do was have the port inserted in my hometown in Louisiana and then go back to MDA with it already done, that is what i would have done. (i would have had to wait weeks to get it done by MDA.) i have learned so much by going thru all this stuff that i could do it a lot better if had to do it again But i will not have to do it again. thank heavens. positive attitude !!!! sephie

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 501
Joined: Jun 2011

---But i will not have to do it again. thank heavens. positive attitude !!!! ---

Yes This!!!!!

melbas2
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

Are they supposed to see me periodically to flush this? I have had 2 PICC lines, and they never flushed them unless I was getting a transfusion, and I've had the port for over a month now, and again, no talk about cleaning unless I'm in the hosp. Melodie

z810840b's picture
z810840b
Posts: 212
Joined: Jan 2010

Sorry everyone..But i must disagree.I had a pic line...it was so easy .!!!!! I kept it in for both rounds of chemo..it is less invasive than a port..My oncologist said that a port wasn't necessary for just 2 rounds of chemo which calculates to about 6-8 weeks.. I flushed it every day and a visiting nurse came often to check it.There was no pain at all..Hugs ..alyse

cap630
Posts: 148
Joined: Jul 2011

My treatment started on May 23, 2011. A PICC line was inserted without any problem.
After the first round they took it out. Then in week 5 they inserted another one. This time it was more difficult. If you have the PICC line inserted my advise would be to leave it in. When it is in it is comfortable. Best of luck to you.

Worden4's picture
Worden4
Posts: 24
Joined: Jun 2009

I also had a picc line...it was taken out and replaced with a new one after a few weeks. The second one was a little harder for them to put in and was slightly uncomfortable at first but I didn't mind it at all. It was flushed out every few days and the site was cleaned weekly. They do try not to mess with it very often. I do have to say though I was kept quite drugged during my cancer and the treatments for it. I took 280 mg of pain pills every day with 60 mg breakthrough pain pills every 4 hours. I also had 20 mg flexerall twice a day and another pill(was 10 mg robaxin...i think that is how it is spelled, until they figured out it was what was causing me headaches...then switched to another pill) at least twice a day. I really need to pull up my blog and pull out my doctor notes and reports so I can remember everything. I have huge areas I don't remember because I was so drugged. I also took anti anxiety pills. Anyhow, I have heard how so many people have problems with their ports and I was glad the doctors decided on a picc line for me. Mine was inserted by my shoulder/collar bone area and the line lead down into my chest.

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