sore veins

Hi Ladies,
i have had 3 FEC and they always have trouble administring it as apparently my veins are small.

For the last 5 days my vein running from the wrist to elbow has been very sore when i move the limb,almost like someone is giving the vein inside a chinese burn.

I rang the unit tonight and they have advised having a picc line inserted,i,ve only 3 more to go and don’t know if it’s worth it.

Also how long does the vein hurt before it feels better.


Hi Tracey,

Is the E in FEC Epirubicin? I have vein damage from 4 lots of Epirubicin given this summer. Just after each epi chemo I couldn’t raise my arm above my head, but it gradually eased to just a pulling feeling like you describe. I’m on the second part of my treatment now - CMF - but the 4 veins used for epi chemo still pull and if anything it looks worse as there are red lines where the damage is beginning to heal. I’ve been told it could be a year before it heals properly - and that the pulling feeling may stay for life!

Like you I have small veins. They administered 2 CMF’s in my surgery arm, but it took ages for it to go in, so I’ve now had a Hickman line fitted. It’s great! The last 2 CMF’s only took about 25 mins to go in - I spent more time faffing about waiting to be ‘done’. Also I’ve just had a spell in hospital on iv antibiotics, as my neutrophils had gone dangerously low, and they used the Hickman line for all the bloods and iv ab’s … no needles!!

Hope that helps with your decision.

Best wishes, Shelagh x

Thank you Shelagh for replying,the E does stand for epirubicin.
I must admit i was slightly worried that someone was going to say it could last a lifetime that feeling,just our luck isn’t it. Now i have the surgery arm which isn’t back to normal to how it used to feel,numbness etc and a chemo arm which probably won’t go back to completely normal either.

Is a Hickman the same as a Picc? I’ve looked the Picc up on the internet and don’t much fancy it. Your not mean’t to get air in, and to keep it clean,it just seems something else to worry about.

I see the Onc on Wednesday so maybe he will have something to offer

Thanks Tracey

Hi Tracey, I have the same problems as you, my veins are so sore, the hospital have put me a Picc line in. I cannot say it wasn’t uncomfortable when I had it put in but I haven’t got the problems now when I go to the hospital for chemo. The district nurse comes in weekly to flush the line and change the dressing which takes minutes and is no problem, my surgery arm does not lift as high as I would like and also the other arm is restricted due to veins being sore but we have to get on with it don’t we? hope this has helped take care junieliz

Hi Tracey I also have had sore veins from epirubicin x 4 . Nurse at oncology unit did not recommend line yet as still felt chemo possible with cannula although I have 6 more CMF treatments to go. Had an appointment with physio who has advised stretching the arm and deep tissue massage - this does seem to help and I am back playing tennis - so dont despair it can get better.
Take care Annie

Hi Tracey, I also have sore veins from Epirubicin x 4. I have just had 1a of CMF. I mentioned my sore veins to the onc and they have given me some Ibuprofen gel to rub on the affected area 3 times a day, just about to give it a go! Was advised by onc nurse to massage the area and to keep it warm with lots of hot water bottles. It does ease over time, just hoping the gel puts it to rest now.
All the best xxx

I tried the Ibuprofen gel last night and it has definitely eased my sore arm (from FEC)I don’t like the idea of a PICC line or Hickman line either, though people who have them in say they are good and most wish they’d had them earlier. I have 4 more FEC to go, going to try again with the cannula this week xx

Hi Tracey and all,

I think the Picc line is in the arm, whereas Hickman comes out of your chest and goes straight into top of your heart. I really don’t know why we are all given different options, but I guess it must be cost?? I have to have the dressing changed every week under aseptic conditions, bloods are taken if needed and the lines are flushed at the same time too. I go to the outpatients dept at hospital, as it is only around the corner, and it only takes about 15mins each time.

I had the ibuprofen gel too sugarsnap and irina, but didn’t really get much relief from it … but my arm is much easier to move now and despite still looking a bit gross it really isn’t more than a bit of a nuisance now.

Big hugs to all who are enduring, or who have endured epirubicin!

Shelagh x

Hi there

I had terrible phlebitis when I was on vinoralbine luckily havent suffered it with Epi, a good flush after chemo goes through, and having it put through slowly helped, I was given painkillers to take codene which helped and lots of hot water bottles. I was offered a line in but didnt want to draw attention I like to leave all things chemo in the ward, so suffered the pains!!!

Good news is other than veins being rubbish they are now pain free and where within weeks of finishing treatment so it will settle down, make sure the chemo nurses know your suffering, I made sure I told them every visit infact made a bit of a fuss as in " you will go slowly wont you, make sure you put an extra large flush up i dont mind the extra few minutes" and even “please dont touch that vein lets look for another” and they were great with me

Hope it all eases for you soon

sue xx