Portacath - advice needed


I am due to have a portacath inserted on Wed 21st May and wondered if anyone has any tips and advice with regard to the actual insertion and using it.


Hi Anita
I have read some of your other threads. We are on the same time scale (I think?) I’m due FEC N0 2 on Tues 6th. I had portacath inserted prior to starting chemo. It was inserted under local and as I was numbed I just felt proding and pushing and the docs chatted to me all the way through. Wierdest part was lying on the operating table under those BRIGHT lights thinking this is not normal I should be ASLEEP!!!. Am really pleased I had it done, I still get ‘spiked’ when the chemo nurse attaches the needle but there is none of the prodding and hoping they will find a vein as before, once the needle is in I felt nothing and also felt nothing when they took it out and now I have numbing cream to put on prior to next chemo so shouldn’t get spiked again!. Although the port sticks out as a bump underneath my skin no-one ever sees it as it’s under clothes and to be honest if I wore a strappy top you’d prob have to really look to notice it. I’m really sporty and delighted that I can still run and climb with it. - Definitely recommend it. - Good Luck xx

Hi Anita,

I had a portcath inserted last September for my chemo and now that has finished it is being used to administer Herceptin and also to take blood samples. I would agree that it is really strange having it inserted under a local anaesthetic. However it has been great having it and certainly beats having to find a vein every time. It is hardly noticeable and I have had no trouble at all with it. I would also definitely recommend it. Good luck.


Thanks eal69eal and Jeanie

thanks for your advice and I am sure that I will be fine with the port - better than having all those needles in your arm!!

eal69eal - yes we are on the same time scale - next one 6.5.08 but unfortunately my onc was away on the 1st dose and it was my chemo nurse who advised I needed one. It has taken 3 weeks for the referral and we have had to come to an agreement over the date as they wanted me in on the 14th but wasn’t sure if my bloods would be good enough. I do wish they had told me about it before and that I could have had it done before chemo started.

hows the hair? - I shaved mine down yesterday to a 3/4" crop - been out with the wig on and feel pretty much ok. I have had lots of positive comments from people who know so that makes it easire.

Good luck for tue


Hi Hi
My hair is very much still here. That’s how I worked out your timescale from the FEC & hair loss thread. No sign of any loss at all. I used the cold cap but I’m not convinced it’s going to save it, I am yet to experience the full brazilian without the waxing so I know it’s still too early to tell but hey it’s worth a try!.
Anyway better get off this thread talking about hair instead of ports. Good luck with the port and hope Tuesday goes well for you too.

Hi Anita,

I had my portacath fitted a few days before my 1st FEC …17th April…It has been brilliant having it. - no more “I’ll just try this one”

No more Prodding or black + blue patches anymore. Hurrah!

Yesterday I awoke to a very hairy pillow!! Expected but still a bit alarming.

I had an incredibly short style/cut last night but I’m suprised how annoying the remaining hair feels.

I think I have a porcupine on my skull… Might go the full monty over the w/end.

Hope all goes well for you.

Good luck

Coleen x

Hi Coleen

Know how you feel with the porcupine on your skull…I too think I will whizzz it all off this weekend and be done with it. I have been having a laugh trying on my buffs and had to watch a demo on youtube on how to make some of the styles!

Quite looking forward to being a pirate!

Good luck to you too and everyone on this site


I’ve had my portacath in since 2004 as my veins are rubbish from my first lot of chemo. I have my blood tests and my other treatment through my portacath and the only thing that you can’t have through it is the dye when you’re having a CT scan (because of the high pressure of which the dye is administered) which is a shame so still have to go to the chemo clinic for cannulation as they are the only ones who can find my veins.

Thank goodness for them!

Hi Anita67
I have just been told I have to have an implanted port but it has to be under a general anaesthetic, no date yet but has to be this month. Is this the same thing as a portacath? I am mega angst about it and should get a date for the op on Tuesday. Is it because your veins won’t cope with chemo? I am wondering how they will get the cannula in for this op, last time they wrecked 2 veins and then put me out with gas first.
Will be thinking of you

Hi Lily

I think the proper name for it is a central line. I have had discussions on earlier threads that it can be done under local with sedation but that might be different practice for each health authority. I will got more info on tues and post it asap.


Hi Anita 67,
we seem to be following a similar path. I get confused because tha American books call things by different names. My info sheet from the BC nurse calls it an implanted port so not sure about this at all. I know it is different because it is buried under the skin with no bits above the surface like the hickman lines, etc. Let me know if you find out more, I would love to have someone to chat to about this.Have you got one?

Hi Lily,

I had a portacath put in about 18mths ago now and that was under general anaesthetic. I asked why it could not be done under sedation and was told the hospital I am treated at do not do it that way. I have been delighted with it - such a relief not to be cannulated every time.


Hi Dawnhc
Thank you so much, I will try to check it out. Have you kept yours in, I foolishly thought it would come straight out at the end of the course. Is portacath the name of one particular port, which they can put in? I hope to find out more on Tuesday but the bank holiday is playing havoc with my dates so I may have to have my treatment delayed now. You are all starting to make me feel that once the op is over I will be pleased that I have my own ‘cat flap.’

Hi again Lily,

Portacath (or port) is I think the generic term. Occasionally you hear them called by the manufacturers name such as BardPort, PassPort, Medi-port. Mine is a BardPort. I have kept mine because I am more or less on permanent treatment. I think they can last for quite a long time. I feel such relief at each visit knowing there won’t be any problems with hunting a vein. I have had so many chemos over the years that my veins are pretty useless. Hope you get a date soon.



I had a portacath fitted 3 weeks ago before my frist Taxotere (next one coming friday yipppeeeeuurrgghhhhh lol) does seem the business, im one of the younger ladies on here and into my designers clobber and going out and you cant see it just a bump under the skin. I had in put in under local an and i felt nothing the time flew by ( that could have been the lovely gin and tonic injection they gave me before hand! Its not actually G&T but the always ask me if i like it and say well heres a whole litre of the stuff coming all at once i smiled alot put it that way) chemo went in and i was unplugged and off i went!

I may ask about the numbing cream one of the ladies on here has because after 3 years of this chemo/cancer crap im scared of needles now never use to be! and i did realise my first one the surgeon left the tube ready for them to insert this time they’re gonna have to pierce the skin.

Anyway good luck and like the other ladies on here am glad that i dont have to go threw the hunt the vein game on every visit


thanks for all the info and messages and Anita for starting this thread especially. As always I am humbled by how brilliantly cheerful some of you guys are, still having time to help other newbies like me even though some of you have been paddling this ‘canoe’ for a lot longer. As usual you have powered me up again. Drinks are on me!
lily x

I have a BardPort - implantable port - that was put in under conscious sedation, 10 days before my first Epi. Not a general anaesthetic, but it’s intravenous sedation that means you’re not really aware of anything happening. I slept for two hours afterwards, was pretty uncomfortable the first night but nurofen worked and by the following afternoon it was fine. I’m delighted it’s there, the pre-chemo bloods are taken from it as my veins are rubbish, bit more of a performance as everything has to be sterile, but a million times better than having the arm jabbed and bruised. I have Emla cream to put on before leaving home for my chemo but I forgot it for the last blood test and even the prick of that is nothing compared to using the arm! Ask the nurse to show you the kind of port they will use - I was surprised at how much tubing there is! You can find info on most kinds on Google.

Mine’s a BardPort as well and have had it in since 2004. Mine was done under general anesthetic but the surgeon is now doing them here under a local because of where he is now siting them (on the breast plate, whereas mine is just under my arm).

I was also given a card which states ‘medi-alert’ in case of emergency. I wondered about a bracelet but the only ones I’ve seen have been really expensive

Hi All

Just had my 2nd FEC and consultation with my onc. My port will be done under local anaesthetic and therefore it just depends on Health Authority. I spoke to a lady who was having her last chemo administered and she couldn’t praise it enough. I asked to see it(she didn’t mind) and was surprised as you wouldn’t have known it was there.

My hand really hurt today and can’t wait for the port as I had to ask the nurse to remove the cannula asap as it was getting unbearable.

Good news from the onc…I can go on holiday in Sept YEEEESSSSS!!!
I was really worried as I had booked it before being dx.

Now looking forward to those side effects…not!


Oh…a BIG thankyou to all who have made comments - it has been such a help.

Thanks again