I just wondered for those that had node clearance or node biopsy on one side then chemo in the other arm, how have your veins coped in your chemo arm?

I used to have very good veins, but obviously I now cannot use my left arm for blood pressure / blood tests and my poor right arm gets the full brunt of it all. I had to have a blood test today for liver function and they really struggled again to get blood from me. My veins literally have give up.

Does it just take time for veins to recover from chemo or will they always be like it now? I know that on my 6th round of chemo, the veins were literally breaking down.

Paula x

Hi Paula

I was told that the veins do recover, but that it does take a long time. My chemo nurse said that the vein contraction I’ve got could take a couple of years to completely disappear.


As it happens I had a conversation with a physiotherapist today which was supposed to be about arm exercises for the side now having radiotherapy but I asked her to look at my chemo arm. she told me to do all the exercises as for the rads side but she said that best thing is to massage it to stretch out the veins again. She massaged it for me and she was doing small pushing strokes from wrist to elbow, as if you are getting toothpaste out of a tube. It was very tight and uncomfortable but she said that it will hurt for a while. She told me to do these as often as possible and she is going to see me again in 2 weeks to see if I need referring to my local physio.

So in a nutshell I would get some oil or body lotion and try and stretch them yourself.

Hope this helps! xx

Hi all,
same here with my veins, and like lancashire lass it was my oncologist that advised me to do small circular massage movements on them to stretch them. Unconfortable but well worth it, she said it should reduce me to tears to be worth while so i get my husband to do my arm for me and i am now reaping the benefits. She said that the would never recover and the nurses do have problems finding a vein to take blood from and they were good before chemo but not now. Hope this helps.
Sharon xx

I dread blood tests.My veins weren’t great before all this, but chemo has pretty much wrecked them. The vein in the crook of my good arm (right) is now classed as thromboid and too hard to access. I spent a week in isolation at the end of chemo and they were allowed to take blood for testing from the bad (left) side. My oncologist also gave approval for me to have Herceptin into the bad arm as it wasn’t chemo. I had to use it when they couldn’t get a vein in the good arm. Last week I had some blood tests and the phlebotomist used a vein between the index and middle finger of my right hand. They once tried to use my foot for Herceptin and I would advise not going there as it’s too painful. Recently I had a day procedure requiring general anaesthetic and I was put into a bed with blankets and a heat pad as the anaesthetist was concerned about not being able to get a vein.

There is an anaesthetic cream called EMLA that’s good, you put it on 15 minutes before they need to get a vein up. I used to get it on prescription when I was having Herceptin and it really helped take the pain out of the cannula being inserted.