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port inserted in chest for chemotherapy


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My mother in law have stage IV Lung Cancer with mets to adrenal gland and brain. Her oncologist recently recommended having a port surgically inserted to make chemo easier since her veins are so thin. Has anyone had one of these? How painful is it to have inserted? How long does it have to stay in?

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Shamrock,

My dad chose not to have a port and it is inconvenient alot when he has to have alot of tests or multiple chemo treatments, but he says he does not mind and he has not had any veins collapse yet. I think Don's Lucy has had experience with a port so he and the others will help you out with more info. Welcome to the message boards and will be praying for your family.

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I think ports are a great idea especially for someone with "poor" veins. Chemo is very hard on veins, very irritating, and when you have chemo it follows that you have a lot of lab tests. The ports can be used for blood draws too. I had good veins and even still I have scars on my hands where the needles were.

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My wife has a port. Her veins are very hard to find and get an IV into. It stays in as long as needed, I think. It does not hurt or feel uncomfortable unless there is an infection in it. And there is the rub. My wife's first port got infected in the hospital from being used for IV not related to chemo. After she recovered from the infection, the surgeon put another one in on the other side, but cautioned that it should only be used for chemo. We have stuck to that advice and have not had a problem with this one. Good luck. Don

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Shamrock,

Don't know from experience with a port, since my husband seems to have good veins. However, his onc. told us that it was an option that might be considered in the future becuase repeated IVs are very rough on the veins, especially if the veins are thin or roll. Plus chemo can shrink or deteriorate veins in time. It is much less painful then continuous IV poking I'm told. The onc. suggested that if we were to consider one, that he'd recommend a venus port, because it is an implant just below the skin surface. It still requires a pin prick each visit, but there is not as much maintanence with it as would be in an external port. External ports require regular cleaning and care to keep from developing infection or clogging.

We were told a venus port would be surgically implanted just below the skin surface, and when my husband was no longer in need of treatment and regular blood work it could be removed.

I would check with your doctor about the different types and the benefits verses the challenges of a port. Make him spell it out to you.

My prayers are with you and your mother in law.

Carleen

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Hi Shamrock,

I work in an operating room where ports are put in. Our general surgeons put them in. It doesn't seem to be painful for the patient. Usually they get sedation thru an IV, and the surgeon freezes the skin area where the port will be inserted. It is great for people with lousy veins.

Faylene

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Dear Shamrock,

I had a port inserted towards the end of my last chemotherapy treatments. I wish I had had the port the whole time. I started out with very good veins and they deteriorated after so much chemo. It's not pleasant being stuck over and over and over again in your hands, arms,wrists etc.

The port was inserted by a vascular surgeon. It was done on an outpatient basis. Because the hospital was busy that day, it took all day for me to have this procedure done--waiting for the surgery, the procedure and then the recovery room. I was given a light anesthetic during the surgery. I had pain pills when I came home. I was a little uncomfortable for awhile, but it wasn't awful.

Please ask the oncologist for a prescription for EMLA which is a cream that numbs the port site (applied 45 minutes before treatment). This really helps to lessen pain.

I would highly recommend the port. I still have mine, eventhough I am technically through with chemo right now. Some oncologists recommend flushing ports once a month, but my doctor prescribed a blood thinner for me. There is a chance of blood clots, but I have never had any trouble.

Take care and good luck,

Ada

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My husband has a port. They started his chemo right away so he had 2 treatments without the port. It was terrible the second time. One of his veins leaked and the chemo went into his arm. He had to have several shots into the hand and arm to neutralize the chemo. The port was no problem having put in and it is much easier. Just make sure you get the creme that numbs the port site prior to treatmetnt, that way you don't feel the needle go in.

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Shamrock -

My sister resisted any talk of a port for 1 1/2 years because she found the whole idea barbaric & offensive. After 1 1/2 years of nearly continuous chemo her veins gave out & she really had no other choice. Now she says she wishes she would have done it in the first place. It doesn't bother her at all - they use it to take blood, give chemo, etc. I echo Ada's advice - ask for a prescription for Emla - used 45 to 60 minutes before the port will be opened, then she doesn't even feel that stick.

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Guest Julies1

I had a port put in a couple of months ago - right after being diagnosed - because the docs said the chemo would be to hard on my veins (chemo every week for 8 treatments so far) and the port has been great. There has been some question about infection, but accessing it is a breeze and it is far better than all the poking of the veins. Mine is under the skin so you really can't even tell it is there, they use lidocaine to access it and it doesn't hurt at all.

Good luck.

Julie

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I have had my port for two years and have absolutely no regrets. There is very little discomfort in the surgery as an outpatient. Every one in a while a nurse will try to talk me into doing the vein in my arm (because she does not know how to access a port). No siree bob! That's what my port is for.

Sue M

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