Hello there regarding whether to have a picc line i have one its been in now for 3 months and its been fine bit uncomfortable having it in but did'nt take long. It really is a personal decision talk to the oncology team pros and cons but for me best thing i had done makes taking blood pain free also having the chemo so much easier.
I would ask your oncologist or nurse about the TYPE of chemotherapy and how the drug will react to your veins. I was initially on FEC 150 due to the high risk type of breast cancer I had my Oncologist said I could not wait for my surgery to put in a port (I opted for avport rather than a PICC line) and my vein still has not healed from the use of a catheter for my 1st FEC treatment. It is important that you know ALL the risks before making your decision.
Hi Dogmad 84 and catzooo - thanks for your feedback, my veins are prone to collapsing so could end up with a line insertion anyway 🙂
I had a PICC line fitted half way up the top of my arm during my chemo 2011/12, and I could not recommend it highly enough.
My reason for not hesitating having one fitted, was that I did not want to run the risk of veins collapsing. Plus all the bloods could be taken that way, so it was a no-brainer for me.
The downsides were having to wear a plastic sleeve in the bath, as you cannot get it wet, having to make additional hospital trips to get it flushed through, and having to wear loose fitting clothing to accommodate it. However, they were just little niggles, and were far outweighed by the positives of having a PICC line during treatment.
All the best with your decision.
Hello again Black Swan - there are several lines which can be used as an alternative to the standard cannula and as far as I know they're available in all NHS hospitals although it would seem not all NHS hospitals promote them. Thanks for the advice - I might try the cannula first having now spoken with my GP who assures me that if there is any damage from chemo to the veins it will only be in the lower arm, and the veins in the upper arm will still be good if an alternative feed is necessary.
Hello again Melrose15 - I'm ok with needles as long as I don't look, but my veins are prone to collapsing. It was my BS who first suggested the picc because of this, hence my surprise when my onc disagreed. Thanks for your feedback.
Hearty - you've obviously experienced it from both sides. Sounds as though the skill of the 'linesman' is as important to the whole process as channelling through a suitable vein. Thanks for this.
I wasn't given the option. I wasn't even told about PICC lines - I'm not 100% certain what one looks like. And I'm having a year of Herceptin on top of 6 weeks of chemo...
Are you having private or NHS? I suspect that most nhs patients just get canalas?
Why not try the canala first - you will probably be fine. If you do have problems then you can consider a PICC line?
You may find it helpful to talk this through with someone on our helpline. Freephone 0808 800 6000 Monday to Friday 9-5 and Saturdays 10-2.
I was encouraged to have a PICC line; at the hospital where I am treated they have a real "expert" in them so I went ahead. It's a bit uncomfortable when they insert it but they will do a chest xray to check it's in the right place. I had my first FEC cycle through it, and bloods taken from it. A district nurse called in once a week to flush a bit of saline through it . When she came just before my 2nd cycle it was blocked so I had to go to the chemo unit for them to try to flush it. It was stubbornly blocked so I had to have it taken out. They tried but couldn't refit it. Apparently my anatomy makes it want to veer up my neck instead of towards my heart! So I've had my next two chemos through a vein in my arm, which again has been OK. The down side of the PICC line for me was having to wear a big plastic sleeve in the bath and shower! I am a bit concerned about all the needles / cannulas they use but my onc said it should be OK just for 6 cycles. And it is nice to have a good soak in a deep bath! Hope you get lots of opinions to help you with yet another decision to make!
Hello everyone, I'll be starting chemo before the end of September and need to decide whether or not to have a picc line fitted. When I asked my onc about this she was surprisingly discouraging because of risk of infection and blood clots , they're time-consuming and difficult to fit, and in any event the line couldn't be used for taking bloods so they would still need to use a vein in the back of my hand. I stressed my concern about the damage to veins caused by canulla-fed chemo during treatment and she said they'd be fine. Most ladies on my monthly chemo thread have opted for a picc line with the full backing of their onc's. I should point out that she hasn't said I can't have one! Has anyone else been advised not to have a picc line, and then had problems finding veins in later cycles? Thanks, Elma