To PICC or not to PICC?

Hello All,


I’ve started Weekly Paclitaxel x 18, and will be having my third session on Wednesday. I’ve been advised by the nurses in the Chemo suite, that my veins could become damaged over time, as it’s quite a long treatment.


I would be most grateful for any of your wisdom and experience (pros and cons), on the subject of PICC lines.


I enjoy a nice warm relaxing bath every day… will this be possible with a line?


Also, please share any Taxol stories, as I’m two weeks in and trying to determine what may be genuine se’s and what might be caused by other evil forces. I will be endeavouring to work 3 part days per week when I’m feeling least whacked!  Any good shrinkage tales would be equally interesting. 


I so value the support and practical advice I receive from many of you, I can’t thank you enough.


Julia x



Hi Julia

I’m on my second PICC line. Pros: no difficulty/pain trying to find a vein each time; if you need other treatments, such as blood transfusions, it can be given through the line. Cons: for me, I find the dressing itches quite a lot, despite having the more expensive type; I have to have a hospital trip once a week to get the line flushed and dressing changed (but if you’re having weekly treatment you’ll be there anyway); you need to wear a plastic sleeve over the line to have a shower and it’s not waterproof enough to submerge in the bath - I do occasionally have a bath but it’s not as relaxing when I have to keep my arm up on the side all the time.


Despite the down sides, I personally find it easier with the line because my veins had become so difficult and having numerous attempts at cannulating can be quite painful and stressful - both for patient and nurses.


I hope this helps you to make a decision. I haven’t had Taxol so I can’t offer any advice about that. Best of luck with it all.


Hi Julia


i agree with DBNO re pros and cons of having a pic line, and don’t regret having mine for a minute. I had a terrible time with the veins after my first treatment of Fec-T with my primary and all the cons out weigh that. 



Pippie ?

Hello Julia


I am also on weekly Paclitaxel and have had a port fitted, as like you will be having treatment over a long period, providing it works of course.  It is fitted just under my skin,had it done under a local so probably a longer procedure than a PICC line.  I have problems when I go for my weekly blood test at my GPs they can never find a vain that works usually takes 3 or 4 attempts so vains must be damaged already due to previous chemos.


I have had 6 treatments so far and side effects not so bad,first couple of days I feel great then find I have a day or so not so good. 


Having a scan a week next Tuesday so will find out if it’s working.


Think you are doing really well working, I am retired but don’t think I would be up to 


Best wishes





i am am on my 10th paciltaxol this week. No significant side effects, however I too have noticed day 3 I feel exhausted. 


I chose to have 2 months off work to get thru first few sessions but am thinking of returning, this will depend on scan results, scan due next week.


i am having a port put in if scans results ok because it took 5 attempts with veins this week?


It it would be nice to hear of some positive stories on this treatment for lung mets x


sue x

Hi cress…

I have had both picc and port fitted during my treatments…

I agree with all the comments on here for the picc line… It has many pros which have been listed here… My prob was that it is not waterproof - so no baths, no swimming, I am also allergic to the dressings and my arm blistered badly, and as the line was too long it got caught and was pulled out!!!

I currently have a port-a-cath… Which I don’t even notice… I’ve had a couple of issues, ie the line came loose and was pulled into my heart… Sounds bad, but the surgeon had never seen it before, wasn’t even treated as an emergency they just went back in and stitched it back up to my muscle and they had to give me GA as my veins are rubbish so larger incision… But I can swim, rough play with my boys, no dressings… And the area they fitted it is numb so I don’t even feel the port-a-cath fitting going in, so no pain at all… Only flushed every 2/3 weeks and they come to my house to do it, takes 10 mins…

If you do go for a port tho I would suggest you work out the best position: mine can sometimes catch on my bra, or clothing edges… Mark where u want it and get the surgeon to put there… It does stick out - it’s about the size of a medium sized marble.

Hope you like and make the best decision for you…

Wolfie xxx

Hi I had a Bicep Picc line fitted on wednesday and had my 1st Gem/Carbo administered thro it. I was anxious about the prodedure but it was absolutely fine  and the best thing I have done. It was pain free and the nurse said “All done and bloods taken” before I even knew that anything had been done. So no more stabbing and jabbing to get cannua in wahoo!!! Din’t be afraid…go for it.  Hugs to all


Sue x

I had a picc line in for 5 months when I had chemo in 2004 and it was a nuisance but so much easier than find the vein every time. They gave me a plastic protector to put on for the bath/ shower but I think  I was told I couldnt go swimming.

I thought that picc lines were not being used now but its all about the fancy hickman ports on the chest ? Maybe each hospital is different.  I had to go to the Nurse every week and get it flushed to keep it clean if I remember rightly too.