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Topic: chemo without a port?

Forum: Help Me Get Through Treatment — Medications and other treatments, medical benefits, and managing side effects.

Posted on: Apr 18, 2011 12:46PM

Melmes wrote:

Apparently, there are places that will do your chemo treatments through veins in your hand rather than a port. Anyone had this experience and willing to share observations and/or opinions on it? I'd love to avoid the port, it terrifies me for some reason.

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Apr 18, 2011 12:49PM Fearless_One wrote:

My aunt never had a port for her chemo and was surprised to learn that I was getting one.   She had no problems whatsoever.    Maybe depends on which cocktail you have?   Not sure....

I had no issues with my port and no pain - left a scar, though.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants

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Apr 18, 2011 12:53PM thePuppetLady wrote:

no port here...and I'm on my 2nd kind of chemo.  First was 6 rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxin and now I'm on Navelbine.  Apparently, my veins are pretty good and I've had barely even any bruising.  I do my infusions now in my left hand as my right side had the surgery.

In fact, my BS said I had "honkin' veins" after my lumpectomy and node dissection and I asked her if that was an actual medical term, lol.  She said she could tell I really use my arm a lot---well, duh, I'm a right-armed puppeteer, lol....ellen

Dx 9/20/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 4/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 01:02PM debbie2 wrote:

I did 8 chemo treatments with no port. Every 3eeks for 16 weeks. I did it in Boston at Mass General they used 4  Adriamymcin and cytoxan then 4 taxol treatments.

Dx 4/17/2009, 1cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 3/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 01:29PM Luan wrote:

No port for me either, had enough of darn cannulas after removal of lymph nodes...

It depends on the size of your veins.  Mine are small and throughout TAC X 6, I had to ask for the particular nurse who was good at it, as some others tried and failed.  No fun. I dont know if top of hand is good, the nurse that tried it on mine blew my vein which made me panic.  It was either in the elbow and some other times in the wrist area. 

Don't knock at death's door. Ring the bell and run. He hates that.

Dx 10/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 01:47PM ReadingMama wrote:

I would think the decision would be partly based on what kind of chemo you are getting and how for how long.  I had AC and then Taxol.  Initially it was only to be 8 treatments, so I did not get a port.  Upon retesting, we found out I was HER+ so will need treatment for 1 year, so I got a port 1/2 thru chemo.  No problems with the port so far and the surgery was quick.  The AC did mess up my veins, you can still see the bruises and feel hard lumps, so I'm personally in favor of the port if you are getting AC.

Meegan - Dx AGAIN on 10/14/11. BMX Nov 30th w/DIEP and free flap TRAM recon. Dx #1 9/2010 - ACx4, Taxolx4, Lump & ALND 2/16/11, Rads April, Herceptin 1 year, ended Nov. 2011

Dx 9/7/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Apr 19, 2011 02:49PM Jules59 wrote:

I am half way through 6 TAC treatments...no port.  My oncologist had 2 of his nurses (who actually administer the treatments) check my veins before he would okay it.  They have to use a different vein each time, and the chemo is hard on the veins.  My arm/hand is sore for about 2 weeks after each treatment, but so far I am glad not to have a port.  There are upsides and downsides no matter which you end up worth, but a port has to be placed and removed surgically, I I felt like I am already having enough surgeries.

Jules

Dx 1/24/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 7/17 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 02:54PM Letlet wrote:

I have crappy veins, always hard to find a good one so i had to get a port. I'm glad that I did it because it made starting the line so much easier. With emla cream on i don't even feel the stick. I do i had it put in last oct. and i barely feel it at all. I am getting herceptin till the end of this year so it is really serving me well.

Dx 8/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/23 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 19, 2011 02:57PM MaxineO wrote:

I have had 3 A/C so far with no port. I have good veins and have had minor bruising with 2 of the treatments (and I bruise easily).  My treatment will include 4 A/C followed by 4 taxol.

With the A/C, they are VERY careful to make sure the IV is good before they start the infusion/push. The nurse pushes saline through and watches the vein VERY closely. So, it is certainly possible to do it without a port. Depends on veins and doctor.

Dx 12/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 4/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 02:57PM cd1234 wrote:

I had 16 rounds with no port. By the end it would take a little longer for the nurses to find a vein, but it was fine.

Dx 1/15/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 03:04PM Babs37 wrote:

I had 4 DD AC + 12 weekly Taxol and no port. They could use the veins in both my arms since I was having the surgery after my chemo. Had no problems all the way through.

Dx 8/26/2010, IDC, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 2/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Chemotherapy 09/09/2010 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 02/22/2011 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Radiation Therapy 05/06/2011 External
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Apr 19, 2011 03:11PM 37antiques wrote:

I didn't have a port either, I have pretty good veins.  I only had 4 cycles of A/C and they just did it in my right hand with no problems.  I will say that my veins do pop up every now and again now though, and if I smack my hand on something it still hurts like heck.  But overall I'm pretty glad I didn't get the port because it does sound scary.  I was afraid I wouldn't take proper care of it or something.  No bruising and no problems, and I'm all for the minimally invasive.

IDC DCIS & Mets

Dx 2/27/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 03:27PM Merilee wrote:

I have had 6 CMF treatments and no port. Had no problems at all. I am getting ready to do 4 TC and no port planned. The key is to drink a ton of water the night before. It puffs up the veins and makes them easier to access. Some cocktails have a larger molecular size and that is why they often recommend ports. Ports go into large veins and arm veins are a bit smaller but still doable for some people.

breastcancerbeast.blogspot.com & http://downsyduderescueranch.blogspot.com

Dx 4/4/2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 03:31PM nikola wrote:

My onc agreed to do it for 4 T/C as long as I was aware that veins could be damaged. I opted for PICC line, instead.

Dx 3/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 03:31PM cookie97 wrote:

I had a port that had to be removed before I ever even got any treatments, therefore they had to use veins. That was nine rounds of Taxotere/Cytoxin and Zometa. Just stared chemo again and will not get the port replaced no matter what they say.

Peace and Love,

Edie

Dx 5/6/2010, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2011 03:41PM NatsFan wrote:

Everyone's different.  I did 6*TAC with a port.  Port placement was a breeze - I had it placed the day before my first treatment and they were able to use it just fine.  Had it in for over a year - removal was done with just a local - dh was in the room during it, and we laughed and chatted with the surgeon the whole time during the removal process.  Went out to lunch afterwards to celebrate. 

I had no issues with the port, and especially given that I had Adriamycin, I was glad to have it.  I have a scar, but the surgeon did a great job with removal and the scar is flat and pretty faded by now.  

Should I ever need chemo again, I would not hesitate to have a port re-inserted.  I have horrible veins, and the port made chemo treatments a lot easier.   

Good luck with your decision! 

Mary

Dx 12/31/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 01/30/2008 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 03/04/2008 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 07/01/2008 FemaraSurgery 10/09/2008 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)
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Apr 19, 2011 04:06PM KerryMac wrote:

I had 3 FEC, then 3 Taxatore, all without a port. My veins were pretty ruined for a while, and it was awful even trying to find a vein to give blood.

But, I am now 2 years out of Chemo, and they do seem to be getting better. My last IV for a Zometa infusion went in first try, no problems.

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa

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Apr 21, 2011 08:19PM alternachick wrote:

This is my one regret...  no port.  I had good veins, and after 6 rounds of chemo (FEC) my arm has never been the same.   Three years later, the nurses still have a hard time finding a vein.  And my lower arm still hurts.  Everyone has such different experiences.  But I always say, if I ever have to do this again, I am getting a port. 

Dx 10/11/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 21, 2011 08:26PM crabbiepattie wrote:

My oncologist said if I had TAC I would need a port; with my "honkin' veins" like The Puppet Lady has, I could do TC without.  So I did - no problems with the first 4 treatments but the last 2 caused some soreness for a few months.  Now the vein in my left hand (non surgery side) is even more honkin' than before.  My oncology clinic used small needles and did only one stick for my blood test and chemo.  Another thing to consider - I had another stick the next day for hydration.  I tried to drink a lot of water but the IV fluids really helped.

Dx 6/8/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 21, 2011 08:45PM dawn31337 wrote:

I had 4 AC and 4 Taxol, all biweekly, without a port. I thought I was disfigured enough and don't need something *else* foreign in my body.  I felt if my veins gave out, I'd do the port when it was necessary.  A couple veins on my good side are very slightly discolored, and I did have some pain with the Taxol infusions, but I never needed a port.  

My cynical self says the ports are easier for our caregivers, not necessarily us. I was definitely in the minority at my cancer center.  Some people do have bad veins though, so it isn't totally selfish on the caregiver's part.

IDC stage IIa 2cm,grade3,TN, 1/6 nodes. BLM 10/15/10,4xAC;4xdd T Done!!! BRCA1/2 neg TE exchange 4/12. DONE! Nipple 7/18, didn't heal right...new implant on left 8/17.New TE on left 8/24.Exchange 12/13.Good to know NED! Tattoo 6/21

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Apr 21, 2011 09:27PM BioAdoptMom3 wrote:

Just found out today I'm not getting a port either.  I will be doing 4 rounds of T/C.  The oncologist just looked at my hand and arm and told me I should be fine without it, but if seemed to need it later on they could always put one in.  I was thrilled with the news too!


Nancy

Nancy

Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 21, 2011 09:54PM flash wrote:

Dawn- actually some of the chemos such as Andriamycin are very damaging to the veins where they are infused and can cause a great deal of scarring.  It may not show up immediately but one consideration is whether it will cause enough damage that blood flow is compromised in the arm later on when people are older.  There's much more to it than just "ease" of giving chemo.  This is one reason ports are usually done in the chest rather than the arm.

multifocal multicentric IDC, DCIS, pagets et al. - er+,pr+ her2+++, mast,chemo, ooph, hyst

Dx 10/10/2007, Paget's, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 21, 2011 10:03PM nene2059 wrote:

No port for me either.  8 treatments total.  Dose dense 4ACx4Taxol and I never regretted it except that I had a superficial blood clot (not dangerous) that bugged me for a little while on my forearm and you look a little like a drug addict towards the end because of your "track marks" from the poking..lol.  Within a few weeks I looked like my arms had never been been touched.  If you are ok with a little pain from the pokes and have healthy enough veins I say go without. The others are right that if you change your mind you can always get it later.  My oncologist and breast surgeon agreed that I could do without the port and left it up to me.  Best wishes all with whatever path you choose:) 

I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it-Maya Angelou

Dx 1/28/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 21, 2011 10:05PM mrsnjband wrote:

I did my first chemo without a port and had it put in before the next chemo.  I became more sensitive to pain as the chemo went along so being stuck with a needle was not fun.  I was really glad I had a port especially when I went to weekly taxols & many blood draws for check-ups afterwards.  I still have it & will keep it as long as possible.  I already have lymphedema on the bc side and I'm at risk on the other.  I am not to have blood draws or blood pressure on either side.  So having a port makes my life a lot easier.  I don't remember it's there most of the time.  But the decision is up to you.  NJ

Norma June, Bi-lateral MX 2008, Bi-lateral DIEP 2011

Dx 1/10/2008, IBC, <1cm, Stage IIIb, ER-/PR-, HER2-Chemotherapy 01/25/2008 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 03/10/2008 TaxolChemotherapy 05/29/2008 TaxotereSurgery 07/10/2008 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/11/2008 ExternalSurgery 08/15/2011 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Right)Surgery 08/15/2011 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Left)Surgery 12/12/2011 Reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 21, 2011 10:23PM bak94 wrote:

8 years ago I did not want a port and did just fine with 4 ac and 4 taxol-but....now when I go for blood draws it has to be in my hand, veins are shot. I am most likely going to be facing chemo again and will have to get a port this time, kinda wish I had the first time. For me, I think the port was like an actual admission that I was sick, crazy I know!

Not really sure what stage I am-Some docs say 3C, others say stage 4. I had no auxillary nodes positive but had internal mammary nodes positive and possibly mediastinal node positive. It's just a number anyways, right?

Dx 12/15/2002, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 2/40 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 4/5/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 01/02/2003 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 02/05/2003 Adriamycin, TaxolRadiation Therapy 07/08/2003 ExternalChemotherapy 04/27/2011 Adriamycin, CytoxanTargeted Therapy 05/14/2011 AvastinChemotherapy 07/29/2011 AbraxaneSurgery 11/30/2011 Mastectomy (Both)Radiation Therapy 02/11/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 04/10/2012 AromasinHormonal Therapy 08/02/2012 Tamoxifen
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Apr 21, 2011 10:44PM, edited Apr 21, 2011 10:45PM by dawn31337

This Post was deleted by dawn31337.

IDC stage IIa 2cm,grade3,TN, 1/6 nodes. BLM 10/15/10,4xAC;4xdd T Done!!! BRCA1/2 neg TE exchange 4/12. DONE! Nipple 7/18, didn't heal right...new implant on left 8/17.New TE on left 8/24.Exchange 12/13.Good to know NED! Tattoo 6/21

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Apr 21, 2011 10:46PM Luan wrote:

I had TAC (adriamycin) x 6
No port, small veins one year ago,
Everything back to normal, no
SEs. I did have the impression
from the nurses that it would have
made their life easier...

Don't knock at death's door. Ring the bell and run. He hates that.

Dx 10/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 21, 2011 10:47PM dawn31337 wrote:

Flash, I did the Adriamiacin and had no issues.  The Taxol was harder for me.  It burned going in.  Over my lifetime, I've done a lot worse to my veins.  Let's leave it at that  :) 

IDC stage IIa 2cm,grade3,TN, 1/6 nodes. BLM 10/15/10,4xAC;4xdd T Done!!! BRCA1/2 neg TE exchange 4/12. DONE! Nipple 7/18, didn't heal right...new implant on left 8/17.New TE on left 8/24.Exchange 12/13.Good to know NED! Tattoo 6/21

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Apr 21, 2011 10:53PM imbell wrote:

I am on my second port. Had a PICC line but removed it in my sleep due to tape. All my blood tests are done through the port. Also chemo and biphosphonates. When I have CT scans or bone scans they can hardly find a vein. Age may have something to do with it plus they can only use my right arm. Port is only a minor irritant. The first one I didn't notice at all. Have had it in for a year and it will likely stay as long as possible.

Dx 9/10/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 22, 2011 01:12AM Mazy1959 wrote:

I had no port for 6 x dose dense AC. My veins are bad now and they often have to chase veins on the top of my hand now. I have a large amount of scar tissue in my veins from all the needle sticks. If I had a choice I would choose to have the port. Hugs, Mazy

Bone marrow mets in 90% of bone marrow.

Dx 3/6/2003, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 12/19/2006, ILC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx 4/25/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 8/4/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 08/09/2012 Abraxane
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Apr 26, 2011 01:00PM pixelsupply wrote:

I was given Taxol (12/once a week) then followed with dense dose AC (4/every other week). The real test is looking at your veins. My oncologist looked at my arms and saw my veins and said...no port needed. I am thinking this is because I have big blue veins very visible on my arms and hands and that would make it easy for the nurses to find a point to insert the needle. I did not have any scarring tho. But again, basically big ugly blue veins were the cause and they never go away :) your port will !

Dx 5/21/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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