Hickman line

I have just come home from hospital where I had my second WLE to take more breast tissue on Friday. Due to the delay in my treatment, i also had a hickman line inserted in my chest at the same time. Now I know its only 2 days ago, but this feels more uncomfortable than the breast! It feels that someone is sitting on my chest, does anyone know if this is normal? I have been told my chemo will start on 28 August and I have my wound check and chemo doc meeting on Friday next. I understand from my bc nurse I will start with 4 treatments of Epi, followed by 4 of CMF (is that what is called) and will start the herceptin at the same time. Does anyone know if this hickman line make it easier for the chemo rather than the normal taps on the hands and arms, as they had enough trouble putting in a tap just for the operation.

Would be grateful for any thoughts, cos its getting a bit scary now.

Hi annabelle,

I had a hickman line put in after my 2nd epi. My veins just couldn’t take anymore. I’m now well into my 2nd cycle of CMF and thank my lucky stars for having the hickman.

I did feel sore after having it fitted, I think they sometimes have to use quite a lot of force tunneling it up under the skin to your jugular. It felt tight then quite itchy. I took the odd paracetamol and alll settled in about a week. I actually found the place where it went into the jugular the most uncomfortable initially because of the stitches - that felt better once the stitches where out. I don’t think the recent ( however welcome) hot weather helps in these situations.

However if in doubt - don’t hesitate to phone your breastcare nurse or doc. It is better to be told all is OK that let something get out of hand.

good luck with your chemo - I can’t say I am enjoying mine but overall it hasn’t been as bad as I expected.

Hope this helps - Swanie

Hi Swanie

I had a line put in yesterday and luckily found your comments, they have made me feel better. I do feel sore and stiff where the stiches are, I am having my 2nd chemo today and was going to see the nurses but my husband said to look on the site as this has helped me in the past.

Thanks again


Hi all,

I have had 3 hickmans in over the years - and yes they take a little while to settle down. As swanie says - they do use a bit of force tunnelling the tube in and you will have bruising but it will ease in time. If you find the site starts to get red and angry let your bcn know as that could be a sign of infection - but you should already have had that explained. It will make the chemo much easier for you – our veins take quite a battering through treatments.