Hardened veins in arm - exercises

I have had 3 FEC and have a sore, swollen warm area on my wrist - after FEC 2 and FEC 3 this was dx as phlebitis and I have had antibiotics for it. The vein used for m last FEC has hardened and I cannot straighten my arm. This is now affecting my shoulder and neck. I have tried hirudoid cream and ibuprofen gel. Has anyone been shown exercises to do which will loosen or soften the hard vein? I have FEC 4 on Thursday.

Hi irina, im very interested in this post because iv had such a sore arm this last cycle of EPI. I can now straighten my arm again but couldn’t for a week of so. My poor kids kept on knocking it and getting a mouth full from me about my ‘bad’ arm. Its been so tender. sorry to hear you are having such a rough time of it.
xx Carmel


I’m interested too. Had my 2nd FEC 2 weeks ago and have next next Tuesday. A vein on the inside of my right forearm has been hurting since the 2nd FEC (I noticed that it hurt when it was going in my hand and told her but she just warmed the hand up). The skin feels sore and the vein harder. Oddly the site where the cannual went in isn’t sore. Am beginning to get worried that my veins wont make it through another 4 chemos and that this vein will cause problems in the future.

How crappy is cancer? Not only do we have the surgery, chemo etcs and their effects there’s also the risk of long term health problems due to them - lymphoedema, vein problems, eyesight problems, lessened sensation … I want to get through my chemo and get on with life and go back to work and begin to worry that I might end up with all sorts of problems I will have to manage in the rest of my life or that might affect my work (lymphoedema will certainly make it difficult or impossible to continue in my job). Sigh.

My veins were painful on chemo, not so much where the canula went in as further down. After 6 chemos it was hard for anyone to get a needle in for blood tests etc. The goood news is that I finished chemo 6 months ago and last time I went to the hosp they were able to get my blood much more easily. The phlebotomist said that veins generally do recover to some extent.

Not much help to you, Irina, as if you don’t have enough to deal with! Have a word with your chemo nurses, they might suggest anti flammatory pills


My wrist is very, very sore where it hurt when I had my first chemo - I have since read that epirubicin should not be injected into the wrist as the potential for tissue damage there is wose than in the arm/hand. My wrist hurt and swelled up, I told the nurse straight away but I think some of the epi had already gone outside the vein.

In all the guidelines for chemo nurses it says they should be guided by the patient’s reaction throughout the infusion - we are meant to tell them straight away if it hurts going in as this is a sign that the cannula isn’t working - epirubicin can cause severe tissue damage if it goes outside the vein.

FEC 2 and 3 I had the cannula in my arm but it is still my wrist which has been extremely painful since - I also have a visible dark purple vein tracking up my arm into my elbow. I’m going to ask my GP about it tomorrow, it was out of hours GPs who prescribed antibiotics each time.


I’ve had same problem since FEC3 have been prescribed hirudoid cream to rub in four times a day and have been told gentle massage may help. I’m worried too that it may affect next treatment as certainly don’t want to have it in mx arm which I have been told they may do. ( Oh no they won’t! )

It wouldn’t be so bad if they pre-warned about these sort of things happening, its obvious from this thread that its quite a common occurence.

cazzb, do you find the hirudoid cream helps? I’m not having anything in surgery arm!

Hi Irina

Only started with it today so will let you know if it makes any difference. So far still bl**dy sore!!

I used arnica cream and vitamin e oil (which is good at absorbing through the skin apparently) through my 6 FEC but in all fairness I had 4 in one arm and 2 in the other (I had equal risk of lymphoedema in each side). It got really quite achy towards the end but has recovered well since (about 3 months). I put a little vitamin E oil on the skin every bath to encourage hair, nail, skin and maybe even vein growth/recovery.