Port-a-Cath or not???

stox4bux
stox4bux Member Posts: 29
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I hope someone can help me decide whether or not I need to have a porto implanted.

I will soon have to start on 4 months of chemo (every 2 weeks) and 1 year of Herceptin (every week). I am afraid my veins won't hold out on that many IV's as only my right arm can be tapped. On the other hand I read some scarry things about portos. I wonder, what's the lesser evil to chose?
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Comments

  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Cath
    I had a cath and had NO trouble at all...it was the proverbial God-send! I was able to swim, shower, have sex, dance...do whatever I wanted. AND, it was there for blood draws and of course chemo. So, my vote is YES!

    Hope this helps you!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • cats_toy
    cats_toy Member Posts: 1,462 Member
    port
    most onc docs will require the port or a picc because the chemo is too strong for regular veins, it needs to be in strong veins that are under the surface. I, unfortunately am the 1 in a million where the port did not work, so they went with a picc because my 2nd treatment in regular veins backed up and started spilling out. Your best bet is the port because it does not restrict your everyday living. Hope all turns out well for you!
    Cat
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    stox4bux
    Hi! I welcome you here. This board and these amazing women and men who post here will be a great comfort to you as you go through this journey, you will not be alone.

    I know that putting a port in can be frightening..but is the best and easiest thing that i have done throughout my journey. I love my port. It saves so much needless poking and prodding. My chemo Nurse said "everyone should be born with one. If you decide to get one ask for emerald cream . You can apply this a hour before you go, and you will feel no pain at all when it is accessed, even without the lidacain (emerald cream) you would probably feel very little. It is very well worth it. I haven't heard very many scary stories about ports..but I do know when my mom had cancer (before the port days) they couldn't find any more veins and had to cut a hole in her toe! now that was scary enough for me. I have not had any problems with mine. But if you have good veins, it is your own decision to make. I can just tell you I am very thankful that i have mine.

    I wish you all of the best. Keep us informed on how you are doing. My best to you and God Bless.
    Jackie
  • crazylady55
    crazylady55 Member Posts: 92
    rjjj said:

    stox4bux
    Hi! I welcome you here. This board and these amazing women and men who post here will be a great comfort to you as you go through this journey, you will not be alone.

    I know that putting a port in can be frightening..but is the best and easiest thing that i have done throughout my journey. I love my port. It saves so much needless poking and prodding. My chemo Nurse said "everyone should be born with one. If you decide to get one ask for emerald cream . You can apply this a hour before you go, and you will feel no pain at all when it is accessed, even without the lidacain (emerald cream) you would probably feel very little. It is very well worth it. I haven't heard very many scary stories about ports..but I do know when my mom had cancer (before the port days) they couldn't find any more veins and had to cut a hole in her toe! now that was scary enough for me. I have not had any problems with mine. But if you have good veins, it is your own decision to make. I can just tell you I am very thankful that i have mine.

    I wish you all of the best. Keep us informed on how you are doing. My best to you and God Bless.
    Jackie

    port worked for me
    I had a port put in 2 days before I started chemo and it was really a good choice for me. The chemo nurses gave me a cream to put on the port the morning of chemo (at home) and by the time they stuck me I felt nothing. It came in handy when I was hospitlized for a virus and then when I had my mastectomy the anesthesiolgist used it. The pre-op nurse said she did not see any usable vein so I was lucky to have the port.

    I have heard scary stories about clots and ports that fail but my docs say those problems are really rare.

    Good luck and best wishes.
  • tommaseena
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769

    port worked for me
    I had a port put in 2 days before I started chemo and it was really a good choice for me. The chemo nurses gave me a cream to put on the port the morning of chemo (at home) and by the time they stuck me I felt nothing. It came in handy when I was hospitlized for a virus and then when I had my mastectomy the anesthesiolgist used it. The pre-op nurse said she did not see any usable vein so I was lucky to have the port.

    I have heard scary stories about clots and ports that fail but my docs say those problems are really rare.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    Port
    I have a port. Really consider a port. One poke and everything is done through that.
    I have finished AC once every two weeks(4 treatments) on 4/21. I will start Taxol w/Herceptin once a week for 12 wks on 5/7. and then Herceptin every three wks for one year.
    With this many pokes I am glad I have a port.

    Good luck,
    Margo
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    My onc........
    My onc left the decision up to me. But his chemo nurses urged me to get the port. I had 4 months of chemo and I am still doing Herceptin every 3 weeks until late Fall. My surgeon also encouraged me to have it because of the length of time that I would need infusions.

    It has made things easier, although I will admit that some bra straps do seem to cause a bit of discomfort when they go over it, especially early on. But it gets less sensitive as time goes by.

    I don't regret having the port. I won't mind when they remove it either..lol!

    CR
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    Port
    I would not have chemo without a port. Having said that, though, I do find mine very obtrusive. I have zero fat on my upper chest and shoulder area, so it is pretty prominent. There is also some muscular soreness from time to time.

    Thanks to my thin skin and nothing much else between my chest and the port, I did experience a rare complication of the insertion--my right lung collapsed. I was not told to be aware of any shortness of breath, just signs of infection, so I was not as proactive as I usually would be. (Also, I was scared that it was lung cancer and was not ready to hear that! So I actually said Yea--I have a collapsed lung--when it was diagnosed.) Again, this is a very rare complication more common when there is little skin or fat or whatever for the surgeon to work with. Just wanted you to be aware of symptoms.

    By the way, I did notice in your first post you referred to triple negative re the cancer you had, as did Jaavon. Normally, Herceptin is not given in these cases although I am aware of trials during which it is given to low expressors of the Her/Neu gene. I am curious about the trail and wonder if that is the situation for you?

    In any case, hope the port information helps, and best wishes to you.
  • jakeca
    jakeca Member Posts: 92
    Yes
    Although I did experience complications when my port was inserted, they were short lived and having the port for chemo was good. My vote is yes.
  • DrSusanHardwicke
    DrSusanHardwicke Member Posts: 15
    Did not have porto-cath
    I opted not to have the porto-cath. I had strong veins from working out and playing tennis. My sister had had a porto-cath (an RN, too) and had pain and problems with it.

    Nurses really do prefer the porto-cath because it makes the infusions easier (quicker) to start. On some occasions, the nurses had to "stick" me 3 times to get it right. Sometimes they would take turns. Once, the taxotere leaked out and burned the tissue just under my right arm.

    Yes, I should have taken the port!
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member

    Did not have porto-cath
    I opted not to have the porto-cath. I had strong veins from working out and playing tennis. My sister had had a porto-cath (an RN, too) and had pain and problems with it.

    Nurses really do prefer the porto-cath because it makes the infusions easier (quicker) to start. On some occasions, the nurses had to "stick" me 3 times to get it right. Sometimes they would take turns. Once, the taxotere leaked out and burned the tissue just under my right arm.

    Yes, I should have taken the port!

    PORT !!!!!
    When I heard I needed chemo all I could think of was "NO ... I hate needles!" Then I started asking questions of these same wonderful women and the overwhelming response was ... GET THE PORT !!! And I am sooooo glad I did. The actual "port installation" was very easy ... and I started my chemo the following week. I can't imagine what a basket case I would be if I had to dread going each week and having nurses poke around looking for a vein. With the port ... it is a breeze. Quite a few women on this discussion board also mentioned EMLA cream ... and that is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is a prescription ... but about an hour before your appointment you "blob" it on the port site and cover it with a bandage. Then ... by the time you get to your appointment the site is numb and you don't feel the needle go in. I guess the needle "sting" doesn't bother some people ... but I am a big chicken ... and the cream really does work. Most of the time I don't feel anything when the needle goes in and the nurse is amazed that I didn't even "twinge." I love my port!

    hugs.
    teena
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Port
    Yes, I, too, have a port and would highly recommend it. I got mine installed a week before my first chemo and never had any problems with it. I've heard that sometimes they can clog up and stop working, but this has never happened with me. I had some muscle soreness when it was first installed and sometimes after chemo treatments it would sting a bit, but no other complications. The added advantage for me was that they could do my pre-chemo blood draws from my port. Otherwise, I would have had to visit a separate lab before every single chemo. Another hassle I didn't have to undergo. The Emla cream really works to numb the area (I also used it on my upper arm before Neulasta shots). For me the choice was easy, as I have virtually no veins in my arms.

    I am also interested in the choice of Herceptin if you are triple negative. Can you tell us whether this was part of a clinical trial? I am triple negative as well. Good luck!!

    Mimi
  • beesharpe
    beesharpe Member Posts: 9
    YES YES the port
    I love my port. I dont have good veins only one good stick would I let them do. My onc wanted to have my port put in during my surgery. I love having my port it has been a godsend. I have been in the hospital twice for a total of 12 days with bloodwork everyday and antibotic thearpy for low white counts.I didnt have a problem with my port just make sure the nurses that uses the port are familiar with them.
  • sunnygirl
    sunnygirl Member Posts: 57 Member
    port or not?
    I'm through six of eight infusions --4 AC every two weeks then 4 taxol every two weeks. I was set to get a port, then the nurse in my chemo class said it was not necessary. I listened to her and opted for iv infusions. Big Mistake!!!

    The last infusion, they stuck me three times(the same nurse that did my chemo class BTW), and I'm sure not looking forward to my nest infusion next week!!

    Go for the PORT!!! Cheryl
  • stox4bux
    stox4bux Member Posts: 29
    Moopy23 said:

    Port
    I would not have chemo without a port. Having said that, though, I do find mine very obtrusive. I have zero fat on my upper chest and shoulder area, so it is pretty prominent. There is also some muscular soreness from time to time.

    Thanks to my thin skin and nothing much else between my chest and the port, I did experience a rare complication of the insertion--my right lung collapsed. I was not told to be aware of any shortness of breath, just signs of infection, so I was not as proactive as I usually would be. (Also, I was scared that it was lung cancer and was not ready to hear that! So I actually said Yea--I have a collapsed lung--when it was diagnosed.) Again, this is a very rare complication more common when there is little skin or fat or whatever for the surgeon to work with. Just wanted you to be aware of symptoms.

    By the way, I did notice in your first post you referred to triple negative re the cancer you had, as did Jaavon. Normally, Herceptin is not given in these cases although I am aware of trials during which it is given to low expressors of the Her/Neu gene. I am curious about the trail and wonder if that is the situation for you?

    In any case, hope the port information helps, and best wishes to you.

    Port
    Hi
    I am so grateful for so many replies and such good advice I have been getting which has convinced me to go for the port. It's much more reassuring to hear from actual patients than to get the perfuntuary advice from the professionals.

    I think I may have misstated my diagnosis in an earlier post as I am still a greenhorn on this cancer thing. Looking at the notes taken from the oncologist again I note that:

    Size of lump removed - 3.1 cm
    1 out of 21 lymph nodes = positive
    HRP - E & P = 0 = Risk
    HER2 positive
    Vasc invasion - None

    I took all that to mean "triple negative" or even "quatriple negative"?? having another oncologist appointment this Thursday for more clarification.


    Thanks again for you all your input.
    Gitta
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    stox4bux said:

    Port
    Hi
    I am so grateful for so many replies and such good advice I have been getting which has convinced me to go for the port. It's much more reassuring to hear from actual patients than to get the perfuntuary advice from the professionals.

    I think I may have misstated my diagnosis in an earlier post as I am still a greenhorn on this cancer thing. Looking at the notes taken from the oncologist again I note that:

    Size of lump removed - 3.1 cm
    1 out of 21 lymph nodes = positive
    HRP - E & P = 0 = Risk
    HER2 positive
    Vasc invasion - None

    I took all that to mean "triple negative" or even "quatriple negative"?? having another oncologist appointment this Thursday for more clarification.


    Thanks again for you all your input.
    Gitta

    Hi Gitta
    I am negative for the E (estrogen) and the P (progesterone) also. If you are positive for HER2 (as i am also) then you have herceptin for about a year usually. Anyway that is how it is in my case. You will not need the tamoxifin or other hormone inhibiters. Make sure they give you a copy of all of this..since they told me one thing and then another. I finally had to read the copy myself to believe it. Herceptin is a good thing though. It doesn 't hurt your good cells and just targets cancer cells. You will not have the side effects as with the chemo. And the best part Your hair will grow back!

    Sounds like you are going for the port? You won't regret it. My very best to you. Let us know how it all goes.
    hugs
    jackie
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    rjjj said:

    Hi Gitta
    I am negative for the E (estrogen) and the P (progesterone) also. If you are positive for HER2 (as i am also) then you have herceptin for about a year usually. Anyway that is how it is in my case. You will not need the tamoxifin or other hormone inhibiters. Make sure they give you a copy of all of this..since they told me one thing and then another. I finally had to read the copy myself to believe it. Herceptin is a good thing though. It doesn 't hurt your good cells and just targets cancer cells. You will not have the side effects as with the chemo. And the best part Your hair will grow back!

    Sounds like you are going for the port? You won't regret it. My very best to you. Let us know how it all goes.
    hugs
    jackie

    port ...
    I am also HER2+ ... and have 4 more weekly taxol/herceptin appointments ... then herceptin every 3 weeks for a year. And ... I am soooooo glad I have the port. As someone else on this thread said ... it doesn't just make the chemo easier ... but they can do the blood draws with the port ... so ... it's just one little stick ... and with the EMLA cream ... you don't even feel that!

    hugs.
    teena
  • 1surfermom
    1surfermom Member Posts: 396 Member
    Port
    I have a port but I have had some problems with it. My the disk of the port( the circle where they insert the needle) is in my right breast, I have BC in my left breast.The tail of the port is up near my collar bone. My surgeon prefers this placement because the port does not show. Everytime I go for infusions the nurses complain and have difficulty accessing it. I have to lay flat in order for the nurses to get to it, I feel like such a freak in front of the other patients recieving chemo. Last time they could not get a blood draw and I had to receive the adriamycyn in my vein ( I was crying and scared but it turned out o.K.). When you get your port be sure to ask about i'ts placement. I wish I would have. Surf
  • peggy65
    peggy65 Member Posts: 100
    cath
    i had a cath inserted after i had started my chemo. my veins were not cooperating because i was dehydrated most of the time from the chemo. i would definitely recommend having one put in because it gives you one less hassle to deal with. they give you meds for the insertion and you don't feel a thing. the cath is uncomfortable for a few week than it is fine. the only thing that it left me with was a little scar on my chest. hope this info helps. love, peggy
  • stox4bux
    stox4bux Member Posts: 29
    peggy65 said:

    cath
    i had a cath inserted after i had started my chemo. my veins were not cooperating because i was dehydrated most of the time from the chemo. i would definitely recommend having one put in because it gives you one less hassle to deal with. they give you meds for the insertion and you don't feel a thing. the cath is uncomfortable for a few week than it is fine. the only thing that it left me with was a little scar on my chest. hope this info helps. love, peggy

    Porto
    Again, thanks to all of you who took out time to reply. I feel so much better now about getting the port. I just didn't know what to expect and was convinced that I could not deal with it for a whole year.

    You all have been a tremendous help.

    Best to you all,
    Gitta
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    stox4bux said:

    Porto
    Again, thanks to all of you who took out time to reply. I feel so much better now about getting the port. I just didn't know what to expect and was convinced that I could not deal with it for a whole year.

    You all have been a tremendous help.

    Best to you all,
    Gitta

    Gitta, I also had the port.
    Gitta, I also had the port. It was much easier and better for the veins. I went through 8 rounds of Cytoxan, Adriamycin and 5FU, and I really don't think my veins would have held out. Hugs, Lili