Has anyone got one? Do I really need one? Are they just a big hassle?

I have had the first of my FEC course and as the people who do the line at the hospital were on holiday I don’t have a PICC line as of yet… I have read about them and if I don’t need one I would be FAR happier without one…

Your thoughts please…


I had 4 FEC without a line - not necessary.


Hey Babyboo

I’ve just started a round of Taxotere and got one in. A year and a half ago I had 6 FEC and didnt have one, but basically the FEC has completely wrecked my veins and the nurses cannot get a needle in to take blood nevermind put in a cannula.

It is entirely up to yourself at the end of the day. Mine was sore for the 1st 2 days due to my skin getting used to it, but a heat pad soon soothed it and I am even forgetting it’s there after only a week and the best bit was it meant when I had my 1st chemo on Wednesday I didn’t have the trauma of getting needles into me.

I would highly recommend them but if you do not have strong veins and you are scared of needles, it’s not entirely necessary as it does impede things like showering (you have to wrap your arm in collophane) and you have to see a nurse once a week to have the dressings changed.

For me it was the best thing and I’m glad I got it, but weigh up your options from what other replies you get :slight_smile:


I had 8 FEC and have had 5 herceptin with no line in. Sometimes they take a couple of tries to get the cannula in but I’ll put up wiht it as long as my veins stand it. The thought of a line of any sort gives me the creeps - hubby says I’m odd though. It all depends on how your veins are and how you feel a line would inhibit your life.

Marilyn x

Hello Babyboo

I had 6 chemo without a line or port and so far have had 4 Herceptin. LIke Marilyn above, the thought gives me the creeps - also I just do not want to have anything inside me to remind me of cancer during my non treatment weeks.

Since the first chemo my veins haven’t been particularly good and most times they have more than one attempt to put the cannula in but I prefer to put up with that.

Good luck.

Love Anthi x

Oh Anthi
How glad I am that I’m not the only one with the creeps and not wanting to be reminded or hindered. I was beginning to think that i was the odd one out. Lots of women at the clinic have lines/ports in and was beginning to think I was odd.

Marilyn x

Hi Marilyn

No we’re not odd. They did try to persuade me but I said I would rather put up with the cannula despite the difficulties.

Take care
Love Anthi

I’ve got 5 more chemos to go and have difficult veins. It was suggested to me last week but I have concerns that my young children would hurt me when launching themselves at it. Also I’m really squeamish and am worried that “stuff” would be oozing out where I could see it… eeeeek

mousy, not keen

I didn’t have a line for FEC and think it would have been unnecessary and unhelpful for only 6 infusions.

I recently had a Hickman line and later a PICC line during courses of Taxol but that was being given in smaller weekly does so was necessary.

My personal preference was the Hickman as it felt more secure and was easily hidden in a lightly padded full cup bra (I didn’t have a mastectomy and wear standard lingerie). The PICC line was dangling from my arm, just above my elbow, with a beige Tubigrip sleeve over it and was not hidden by this year’s teeshirts or skimpy sleeved blouses. The Tubigrip would roll down to my wrist in bed and then I did roll over onto the Picc and slowly, it was being pulled out. When it got infected around the wound sight, they took it out.

One advantage of the Picc over the Hickman is said to be that you can take a bath in a Picc (rather than just shower) and even swim. If this appeals, ask to see the plastic sleeve you would be bathing and swimming in and see if you are convinced. Mind got full of water in the bath so was useless.

Either needs weekly flushing but my hospital trusted me enough to teach me to do it and change the dressings while on holiday. Normally the District nurse comes in on the weeks that you don’t visit the hospital.

Advantages of both lines is they can be used to collect blood samples, give blood transfusions etc. painlessly.

I had my first cycle of chemo through my veins without any trouble but then when they came to do my second it was difficult to find a vein that would hold up and it took 5 attempts by 5 different people to get the canula in. They said I had tiny veins and that they were convinced that my veins would not hold up for 8 cycles. I had a picc line put in and although its not pretty I am glad I did. I hate needles and I wouldn’t have coped with the fortnightly anxiety of whether they would be able to get a vein or not. Its also very quick to collect a blood sample. I did go swimming with mine in when I told them at the oncology clinic they were not impressed and told me not to do it again as there was a risk of infection?

I may need a PICC line as when I had my second FEC it was really difficult to find a vein and they had to use the same one eventually as had been used for the first chemo. I have asked that we try again next week when I have the 3rd one, but if there are problems this time, I will have to have the line.


Hi Babyboo

Could you have a portacath put in instead? I had one put in weeks ago under a local it took about 1/2 hour and is much easier now (I had trouble with using veins because of double mastectomy) all you feel is a little bump under your chest wall - it hides under the top of the bra cup - is also not to uncomfortable when cuddling little people!!! When you need treatment it’s like putting a cannula in but it goes in the portacath instead - no cleaning ect as the nurses do that after each treatment.


Hi babyboo,

I have had 4xEpi and 1 full cycle of CMF so far without the need for a line. Although my veins are getting more and more reluctant to come out to play and each time I go we play that familiar game of ‘hunt the vein’ I still don’t need a line. You would be amazed at where they can put a cannula if needs be! The mind boggles!!! I’m hoping I can get through my remaining chemo’s without having to resort to a PICC line.

Take care,