vein troubles

Hi Ladies,
Looking for advice on how to ease the discomfort of a big carbuncle thingy that has appeared on my forearm - it is about 6cm along from the vein injection site by my thumb/wrist and appeared about 3 weeks after chemo dose. It was preceded by inflammation in that vein and I got the heparinoid cream to use but it ain’t shiftin it at all. Also, this vein is really hard and cord like now - how long till this goes away? Anybody experienced this as well? I have just one more chemo session to do so they are gonna move to another vein for that. I really don’t want them to use my other arm as it is post-surgery node clearance and I am terrified of triggering the dreaded lymphodema if it is used. Someone suggested just moisturizer…?

What do all you ladies out there think? I am constantly amazed at the sum of knowledge we all have and share, I have found it so useful for getting thru this and am trusting you again…

i have hardened veins on my hand and my arm and can’t bend my arm straight, i find the only thing that relieves the ache and the tension in my arm is heat, a water bottle wrapped in a towel or in the bath. I do try to exercise my arm and move it in circles and up and down as much as i can. I asked my oncologist and he said it will go but just said after a few months maybe up to a year!

I have been on a trial chemo and the first part was Epirubin and the second part is cmf. because the cmf is not as strong they have been giving it in my operated side but i have had no problems so far.

Gaynor x


Cant’ help with the lump, but if they can’t get a vein in your arm how about your foot. I had my last chemo in my foot. I’ve just had 9 herceptin and yesterday they got a vein first time.

Marilyn x


I had phlebitis after my first fec, they had trouble finding a vein. Used a warming cushion whiched helped with the pain but still have a little nodule at the injection site. I have now had a picc line inserted and it made my last lot of chemo a lot easier, going today to have the line flushed, hubby coming too so they can show him how to do it so I won’t have to go every week.


Could ask them to give you an extra long flush afterwards too.


Hi anoush,
From your post I am not clear if you have shown your medical team the large raised area that has appeared on your arm.
If you haven’t then I would suggest contacting them as soon as possible for further assessment and advice, the area on your arm may need treatment with possible steroids and/ or antibiotics to help reduce the inflammation.
I am sure for you next chemotherapy the chemo nurse will be able to access another vein.

Best wishes
Clinical Nurse Specialist New -Media

Hi Anoush,

Good advice from moderator. I had alot of pain with FEC but its settled down a little and not as bad with Tax. I found heat helpfull and masage if you can bear it. My onc also said it would go eventually.

Best wishes,
Malan x

Hi Anoush

I had a similar problem after my second FEC large lump came up about 2 weeks post chemo very inflamed and tracking!! In Left arm.Had to have antibiotics and 3rd and 4th chemo had to be given in post surgery node clearance arm, which like you I was very worried about, but so far so good. Still have the hard veins and cording in left arm, and have 2 chemos to go so really hoping they will not have to use the post surgery arm again.

Good Luck

Kim x

Hi Anoush

I finished my last chemo just over 2 months ago and have a carbuncle thingy on my arm too! My veins also became very hard and cord like and I opted to have a PICC line inserted as the chemo nurses didn’t think that the veins on this arm would withstand all 6 treatments and I’d had node clearance on other arm. The carbuncle thing appeared in between my wrist and the inside of my elbow after my 2nd or 3rd FEC treatment and is still there. My oncologist assured me that this was OK and that both this and the vein would recover. The PICC line prevented the chemo from aggravating the vein any further and made the chemo treatments much less painful - it also meant that I didn’t need to go into the node clearance arm! Since finishing the treatment I’ve noticed the vein starting to soften again slightly, but the carbuncle thing still remains - I’m sure that this too will dissappear in time.

Best Wishes JacquiR

Hi Anoush and everyone else!

Just to add my experience. I had 3 FEC and after my last one my veins were protesting and I couldn’t straighten my arm properly so they switched to my node clearance arm for my first two Taxotere then switched back to the other side for the last Taxo 2 days ago, it was absolutely fine, they weren’t concerned about using my affected side at all. Yes do use moisturizer and massage the veins, I’ve got cording in both arms now (sigh!) but the massaging does help, just try and be patient, it can take months to go, but go it will I promise.

Best of luck with your last chemo Anoush, you’re getting there.


Thanks so much for all your helpful comments - it is always such a relief to find out that what you are experiencing is not some new chemo-induced abomination but something that others have had too. Since my posting, I have had another chemo session (hence delayed responses) into a vein higher up my forearm and away from ‘the carbuncle’ - they did suggest my node-clearance arm but I clung onto it and said 'No, No, No! - they seemed to hear me! I have been given antibiotics which have reduced the inflammation although it is still a very hard lump and quite painful. Not worth puting in a PICC line for one more session, is the opinion of the team. Like you Gaynor, I cannot straighten out my arm unless I am sitting submerged in a nice hot bath which seems to ease the pain a bit. I will use the hot water bottle trick too! I have been told to expect it to disappear only slowly… Yesterday, I had to go back to the team for more ABs to treat cystitis ughhhh - they wanted to check my blood again but I said ‘No can do!’ - I am turning into the patient from hell!! They will be glad to get me through their system…


Sorry I have no advice except hang on in there one more to go!!!
Sinding you a cyber hug and thinking of you, and I am sure you are not the patient from hell!