Not even sure if I have the spelling correctly. My onc is suggesting I have one. Quite worried. Can anyone tell me what it’s like to have it inserted and how it feels to have drugs administered that way.hope somebody can help

X Sarah


Hi Sarah,

I have one which was inserted under general anaesthetic, but some hospitals also do it under a local anaesthetic. I have my bloods taken from it and chemo and Herceptin administered through it. Before they access it you put a numbing cream over it and don’t feel a thing when the needle goes in or when the bloods are taken or drugs administered. SO much easier than dealing with lots of needles and more convenient than some of the lines as it is under the skin so you can wash and swim etc as normal.


Hi Sarah - I had a portacath fitted and it’s the best thing I did. It was done under local anaesthetic and apart from a little bit of tugging as they fitted it I didn’t feel anything. They can give you a sedative to help if needed. It took about 40 mins for it to be fitted and was very straightforward. I had some numbing cream I put on to the area before I left home to go to the hospital for chemo each time and I didn’t feel anything when they put the needle in and took blood and gave the chemo. I had it removed two weeks ago as I finished my chemo and that wasn’t any hassle either. I’d definitely recommend it as it saved so much time, effort and pain with trying to find veins in the hand. Hope this helps. Best wishes Jane


I’ve just had a portacath fitted this Monday under general although I was given the choice of a local.

I’m having vinerolbine and herceptin.I asked to have one fitted as I know my veins got hammered when I had tax 3 years ago and each op I’ve had since they’ve had real probs finding veins.

I havn’t had any probs,a bit of bruising but no pain, once dressings and stitches are out I will be hardly aware it’s there. To me it’s far better than having them stabbing away trying to find a vein plus I’mhaving it every week and can only use my right hand/arm as nde clearance in the left.

Chemo bad enough (I hoping for no hair loss and minimal side effects) so anything to make life easier.

Hope this helps


Hi Sarah.

I had a portacath fitted with sedation and local anaesthesia with no problem. A bit sore for a day or two after and then you just forget it’s there. As it is all under the skin there is no problem with showering, swimming etc. and much less chance of anything getting infected. Removal just as easy. Before each chemo put anaesthetic cream over port so it didn’t hurt to access at all. Chemo nurses always took my blood when I arrived for chemo so hardly ever had to have needles in my rubbish veins.


I really love mine - NO junkie veins, no lines dangling about, able to swim, much lower risk of infections than external lines, only needs to be flushed once a month (or not at all if you’re having treatments every 3 weeks as they do it at your treatment) and very unobtrusive. I’m on Herceptin after 6 x FEC so an external line would have had to be in place for well over a year and I really didn’t fancy not being able to have a shower for that long - I’d be REALLY smelly by now! It does mean an additional scar on your chest but my insertion scar is really pale and almost invisible and I’ve got a much larger scar on my shoulder from an op I had a few years ago, so I’m not bothered. (My breast surgeon was a lot more upset about it that I was but she’s a bit of a perfectionist on that kind of thing.) I’m guessing they use the same incision when they remove it.

I had mine inserted under sedation and local anaesthetic. I can vaguely remember it was not pleasant and was a bit uncomfortable (I remember groaning once or twice) but I was dosed up pretty much and the memory is just a bit fuzzy. As mentioned, some places administer it under general but as it doesn’t take very long to do you’re not knocked out for very long so the after-effects of the GA aren’t much.

They should be offered to everyone who’s going to have FEC for sure, absolutely brilliant.

I think if you are on intravenous drugs long term as in with 2ndaries they are fantastic. I had mine done 6 years ago and it has never given trouble. It was under GA but apart from initial soreness which doesnt last more than a few days I am not really aware of mine. I don’t need numbing cream when it is accessed as I don’t feel anything. The scarring is so small although as mine is set quite high (about an inch below collarbone)if I wear a v-neck or scoop neckline you can seem the bump but I don’t care lol. I would say to anyone, based on my experience, go for it.


I have asthmatic problems too and I can not imagine having a portacath in. When I have chemo they just redid my vein every time. How do the secure it,or tape it, Do they need a better way to keep it stable? I would check with the people that reconnect it to see if there is a better way. Please let me know what they say. Good luck!!!

I had mine fitted in Nov 2011 after my first chemo session and it was the best thing ever. I had 4 x AC and 4 x Paclitaxol at 2 week intervals and am just coming to the end of my 12 months of Herceptin. The first AC left my arm so sore and tender around and under the skin that I couldn’t have coped with any more like that.

It was put in under sedation, so didn’t feel a thing. It was quite sore for a few days after because the tube bit goes up and over the collar bone but after that no problems.

The only downside which I am hoping will be sorted when I have it taken out is that the scar is quite wide as it pulled slightly when healing and is in actual fact a bigger scar than the one for my WLE and sentinal node biopsy, so am having it taken out by my breast surgeon and not the radiologist that put it in, as he assures me he can make the scar a lot narrower.

But definitely go for it, saves so much stress and hassle.


Thanks so much everyone for your responses. Don’t feel quite so worried now. I suppose it’s the thought of the procedure more than anything. Only had mx 9 weeks ago and am having rads now. Read on Macmillan site that it might be an idea to wear a medi alert. Anyone done this?
X Sarah

Hi Cromercrab

I too have a portacath as on herceptin until at least the end of this summer, so I decided to get myself a medic-alert tag from theidbandco.com. I went for a little engraved heart which is on a lobster clasp so that I can wear it on a bracelet, a watch or whatever.

Please bear in mind that although my portacath was used of receiving chemo as well as now for herceptin and for blood samples it can not be used for administering certain contrasts or substances used for MUGA scans, CT scans or MRI scans which can be a pain - if you pardon the pun!!!

i have a portocath fitted and never had a problem with it. mine was done under local anasetic and cant believe that was 18 months ago, finished herceptin last Wednesday and its coming out in about 3 weeks time yeeaaaa. It was a god send for me from a hygiene point of view given my dogs and horses.

I don’t have a medicalert bracelet, but my portacath came with a credit card-sized information card which is in my purse and a keyfob thingy which is attached to my keys, and as they usually go everywhere with me I reckon that’ll do.

Hi Sarah (and everyone else!)

Just to add that there are different types and brands of portacath, and the one I have CAN be used for contrast for CT scans etc - it is called a Powerport and can cope with the higher speed transfusions demanded for this.

Mine was fitted 18 months ago under local and mild sedation, and I never use numbing cream. It is fantastic, making life so much easier, reducing not only the pain and stress of cannulation, but also reducing or eliminating the vein pain that some chemos can cause.

Another big plus is that even when you are wired up for chemo or whatever, you still have 2 hands free which makes a big difference if you want to read, drink, knit and so on.

I would definitely recommend going for a port - as a secondary lady like Dawn, I never want to have mine taken out!

Best wishes,
J x

Definitely will have one if I can knit lol. It’s beginning to sound like a simple descision. I am in the hands of my onc now.

Ay Geewhiz - wish I had a Powerport but wasn’t given a choice on this one. Mine’s just a bog standard portacath :frowning:

A power port… Worth asking for. Thanks peeps.

I’ve got a power port that CAN be used for CT scans etc, but Nuclear Meds at the hospital I attend don’t use it. And they haven’t been trained in accessing them either, but they’re very good at getting a canula in, particularly as I don’t have chemo veins. And for the injections needed for MUGA scans I’ve been told the stuff they use is very sticky and could potentially bung it up.

I’ve asked to have a port for my zometa, veins are dreadful and as I’m planning to be around for a long time will need to be on zometa longterm lol! Did ask onc about powerport and apparently the problem is that the radiology team are not trained to use it!
Good luck Sarah, it’ll be good to be able to knit whilst being treated. I’ll let you know if I get mine, keep in touch,glad to hear things going well xx