Cannula, Picc or Portcath?

Hello there, I’ve had 2 weeks of 12 for paclitaxel and carboplatin (alongside Pembrolizumab immunotherapy every 3rd week) and then will have 3 weekly AC chemo for TNBC for another 3 months. Second cannula has left a lot of bruising in my hand. First one not so much. Advice please on any ways to reduce the bruising and on whether I should stick with cannulas, or should try for a Portcath. I think I don’t want a Picc as I think it will limit my use of my rowing machine at home + weights etc. Is that correct? I’m 67 and don’t want to lose muscle if I can avoid it. Thanks so much for advice. And good luck to you.

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I had a pic for several months. I developed an infection at the entrance to the line and had it removed. When then line was then checked with ultrasound, I was found to have 2 clots under the arm where the line had rubbed on the vein. So, if you decide to try a pic, so ask about the chances of this happening.
Wish you all the best for your ongoing treatment :heart:

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Hi there,
I started with a Picc line and found it really annoying as needed to put a sleeve for showering and for running to keep it in place. (Fortunately) I got a clot (chemo wouldn’t go in anymore) so I asked to have a portacath instead and it was so much better. I was able to swim, shower, run etc without any worry. The only thing is that it’s a bit more of an intervention to put it in, and take it out again (you need a trained anaesthetist), and it’s a bit painful just after having had it installed. So it’s only worth it if you’re going to have enough months of treatment. But I would recommend it 100% over a picc line.
All the best,
Marie

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Hello, sorry to hear about your bruising. I have secondary BC since June 2020 so have had my fair share of needles. I find drinking a lot of water for a couple of days before and not having caffeine for 24hrs before makes a difference as to how easy it is to get to the vein. Also once I’ve had the cannula or needle in then holding the cotton wool/swab firmly on the site helps and then leaving the bandage on for a day. Then not putting weight on the arm for 12hrs or so. I once did yoga after a blood test and took the swab off and it left me with a really big bruise.
I had a PICC line when I had EC chemo. I didn’t have any problems with it, but I hated it. Found it a nuisance to shower and bath. I couldn’t swim. Kept catching it and it was a constant reminder (and signpost for those I hadn’t told I had cancer). Also had to go and get it flushed each week. I think a port is much better, but it’s not easy to get with my NHS trust.
Good luck with it all.

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Thanks so much for replies. Oncologist meeting today he strongly recommended Picc line. Told me I could use rowing machine fine, but maybe not white water rafting !). I think he suggested it might be helpful against peripheral neuropathy too, at least I can wear compression gloves without cannulas in hands, which might help. I think I’ll give it a go. And get it removed if problems. Any recommendations of nice covers?

I’m 64 had breast cancer again and underwent chemo and radiotherapy twice. I had FEC twelve years ago and to be honest it did a lot of damage to my veins . Despite this when a pic line was mentioned this last time last year everything in my body said no . I hate anything I regard as a foreign body . I did however concede and had the most amazing lady at Weston Park hospital who basically had one shot at getting a picc line in due to me only having one suitable vein left. Yes I hated it , yes it did get in the way , yes I did develop a bit of irritation to the plaster and tape ,no I couldn’t do the bra strap trick anymore without taking my top off but honestly it was the best thing I’ve ever done . No more needles for blood tests , no more needles for chemo but best of all it helped prevent more severe damage to my arm . The bliss when it was removed I can’t put into words but would I have chosen a picc line knowing what I know now. Most definitely yes . It’s a few months and it may prevent more strenuous exercise but in my opinion worth it . Good luck with everything :heart: