Hi. About to start chemo next week. Seeing oncologist today to find out the plan. Has anyone had a prtacath rather than a Picc line for their chemo and how have you found it ??

Morning, Brewster - I had a portacath for my chemo (Feb-June) and it was greatly preferable to a PICC line, which seems the standard. I had surgery before chemo and lost all the lymph nodes under my left arm, which now has to be protected, so removing 50% of available veins for chemo, and have rubbish veins anyway. The portacath sits under the skin, usually just under the collar bone, and is completely concealed, so there is no worry of infection and no problem with bathing, just this hard little lump to get used to. The only drawbacks I found was that it was inserted and taken out under a general anaesthetic (though I have heard of it being done with a local), but the anaesthetic was very light - I was awake again very quickly with no side effects. The little scar left behind can look a bit lumpy (2 incisions on top of each other) but I’m sure will fade with time. The chemo goes in via a special needle, so one prick at the beginning of the session and that’s it. No hunting for a vein and no maintenance (it should be flushed every 4 weeks, but if you’re having chemo every 3 weeks that takes care of that). Good luck.

I can thoroughly recommend the portocath. As both my arms were compromised having had the lymph nodes removed from both a pict line wasn’t an option. Initially I had a Hickman Line inserted but after a couple of infections it was removed and replaced with a portocath. It made treatment so easy and having blood tests a doddle. Also able to shower/ bath as it’s completely under the skin.

Good luck with your decision and treatment, Gill

Hi Brewster, best thing i did was have a portacath. The digging around for a vein was worse than side effect to me. I had 6 rounds of FEC and 18 herceptins, used EMLA cream to numb area,painless! Better than a picc cos you carry on as normal (bathing etc). Had mine done under local and sedated not too bad at all and gonna get it out soon again under local. Good luck x