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Herceptin ~ Port vs IV ?

KCD
KCD Member Posts: 31

Hi,

 Do you get your Herceptin treatments via port or IV?  anyone tried both?   What was your experience with it via IV?  If it helps I have giant veins.  I haven't started hercepting treatment yet but I hate my port, its very uncomfortable, and hurts after I run or do anything mildly strenous with that arm.  

thanks

Comments

  • mantra
    mantra Member Posts: 189
    edited January 2012

    My sister is receiving her Herceptin through her port and she was told she would need to keep her port until the Herceptin is finished.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,642
    edited January 2012

    I use my port for Aredia infusions and blood draws but it doesn't cause me pain and I have very puny veins. I work out almost everyday and don't notice it.

    If you hate it and it hurts I say take it out as long as you don't mind using your veins.

    Good luck.

    Caryn

  • lele3737
    lele3737 Member Posts: 7
    edited January 2012

    I have used my port for ANYTHING I can.  It's why it's there, right?  I already went through 8 rounds of pretty nasty chemo, so my veins are not what they used to be, so it has been a godsend.

  • Patriotic
    Patriotic Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2012

    I have a port and hated it at first. But, I knew I had a long road ahead....one year + of treatment. So, I bit the bullet. At first, it was just annoying and an eyesore. But, about a month or so after insertion, I didn't notice it at all and it has been a complete Godsend. I, too, use it for everything. Mine is a Power Port and technically, can be used for contrast dyes, too. Although, none of the tech's seem to want to try. But, I now insist on it being used as I had damage to a vein recently after allowing an arm IV for antibiotics. The vein was compromised and the meds began spilling into surrounding tissue (painful and bruised). For my most recent surgery, I insisted on the anesthesia being run through the port and that worked fine. I only say to insist on this because sometimes nurses/doctors that aren't familiar with ports, will tend to go for the IV because it's what they know. Now, I just ask for an infusion nurse to access the port. So far, everyone has complied. I tbink you'd be ok with Herceptin via port or IV, as it is not considered as caustic as chemo or other drugs. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • policewife84
    policewife84 Member Posts: 86
    edited January 2012

    Port - no pain or problems:)

  • Jaimieh
    Jaimieh Member Posts: 925
    edited January 2012

    I used my port for everything possible.  IV's are no longer easy with my veins even at 2 years out my veins would close down. 

  • JadeGirl
    JadeGirl Member Posts: 3
    edited January 2012

    I hated the idea of a port at first (my doctor and husband had to talk me into it...) but now I LOVE mine! 

    I did not have such a good experience getting it put in and it "ached" for about 2 weeks afterwards (especially where the tube sat on top of my collar bone), but now I hardly notice it when I move around.  Hopefully yours will "settle" down soon - if not let your doc know. 

    I am doing weekly chemo + herceptin for a year so the huge plus for me is knowing they are able to acess my veins in one go (since the veins in my arms are now harder to access this second time round) - it's helped with my anxiety levels a lot as I was becoming a human pin cushion!

  • badmamajama
    badmamajama Member Posts: 3
    edited January 2012

    I had 8 rounds of chemo with a port. Had a bilat and had the port removed. Finished my Hercerptin w/o port not problems.

  • saralmom
    saralmom Member Posts: 216
    edited January 2012

    I had a port for 12 chemo treatments, and then the rest of my Herceptin treatments - total of a little over a year.  I also hated it at first, but then grew thankful for it.  I only used my port for treatments - so I felt like my vein (only one arm available due to AND) which is a very good vein, got plenty of play from all of the blood draws, MRI's, MUGA scans, etc.    I was glad that it didn't also need to perform during treatments.

  • lizely
    lizely Member Posts: 4
    edited January 2012

    I am nearing the end of my treatment TCHx4 plus herceptin every three weeks for the balance of the year ending May 2012.  I decided against having a port and I am glad I made that choice.  I figured that if I started having problems with my veins I could always have a port installed.  My daughter and son-in-law who are both doctors told me that ports are mostly there for the convenience of the nurses.  I didn't want to risk having a port get infected and I did not want it poking out of my chest.

    IV's have been easy.

  • lovetosail
    lovetosail Member Posts: 36
    edited January 2012

    I have had one year of Herceptin (plus TCx6) with a port, had the port removed, and then recurred 8 months later (local recurrence).  I am now having a year of herceptin w/o port.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through and getting the IV started is always a source of anxiety for me, I'm not an easy stick and the IV leaves bruises that take a week or more to heal up.  I miss the port :(

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,642
    edited January 2012

    Well, the doctors and nurses may find ports convenient but so do many people who have them. Kind of a win/win situation, I'd say.

    Caryn

  • Trisha-Anne
    Trisha-Anne Member Posts: 1,661
    edited January 2012

    I have great veins, but because of the mx and the risk of lymphedema only my right arm could be used.  I have a port - and after the first month I don't really notice it.  I can't have blood draws or anything else with it though - down here in Australia they can't use a port unless they are trained in using it - or so I'm told.  Which means that all my blood draws and muggas and everything else were done on my right arm.  The vein is still pretty good, but is getting very scarred and it hurts more each time it gets stuck.
    I've just finished 12 months of Herceptin this week, and I wouldn't have gotten through without the port.

    Mind you - I'm getting it out in a couple of weeks, mainly because I don't really want the hassle of going in to have it flushed regularly - not because it worries me at all.

    Trish

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited January 2012

    That's weird Trish - I had all my blood draws done from my port. I didn't wait a couple of weeks I had it out in 6 days

  • Leah_S
    Leah_S Member Posts: 1,929
    edited January 2012

    I get my blood tests done when my port is opened for tx.

    Sure, it's convenient for the nurse. It's also convenient for me. When I had my original tx, I was having "only" 8 infusions so onc & I figured why bother. Big mistake. Adriamycin destroyed my veins - I have only one that can be used in my non-LE arm - the rest feel hard through my skin. After I was dx Stage IV I had a port put in even though I'm only getting Aredia infusions - it's still once a month infusions and bloods. Also, who knows what will be in the future?

    As Caryn said, win/win.

    Leah

  • Wendyspet
    Wendyspet Member Posts: 103
    edited January 2012

    I've always had easy veins and no problems.  I am now 3 1/2 months pfc.  They couldn't get a vein today for my muga scan, so we waited for a chemo nurse to access my port.  They all kept saying "that's why you have it."  I am glad I have it.

  • TheLadyGrey
    TheLadyGrey Member Posts: 68
    edited January 2012

    I have a port - I actually don't recall being given the option not to but would have gotten it in any event. My left "go to" now off limits arm has always been an easy stick - right arm always problematic. When the nurse blew two veins for the port surgery I knew for sure!



    The port drove me crazy for the first month plus. I was awae of it all the time, it hurt when exercising, I could feel it when I turned my head a certain way. I kept threatening to get a razor blade and cut it out myself!



    Two months later I don't notice it at all day to day and am thrilled I have it on infusion days. My center does the blood draws from the arm unless you specially request the blood be taken from the port which means you have to wait for a chemo nurse which can add up to two hours to the process - not sure how my veins would have stood up to two sticks in a day.



    I intend to keep my port for at least a year assuming the oncologist is OK with that. I would keep it forever if there wasn't the flushing to consider as I understand the port can only be placed once on a side.



    Of you have the once a wekHerceptin though chemo schedule bear that in mind - once a week is a lot.

  • Trisha-Anne
    Trisha-Anne Member Posts: 1,661
    edited January 2012

    Sue - I had all my blood draws done from the pathology dept at Canberra Hospital - it's a long, long way from the chemo ward.  The girls who do the blood draws aren't trained in accessing a port.  I could have had the blood draws done at the chemo ward I guess - but I would have had to book in, and have it done on the day of the Herceptin infusion, wait around for over an hour to have the pathology done and that was too much trouble for me.  It was much easier to have the bloods done on the way home from work the afternoon before, much quicker and simpler for me.
    Trish

  • Ca1Ripken
    Ca1Ripken Member Posts: 829
    edited January 2012

    I didn't read all the posts... but I had my port removed after having the heavy chemo done, and finished out my year of herceptin getting peripheral IVs... piece of cake!!  :) 

  • Slainte
    Slainte Member Posts: 55
    edited January 2012

    Kcd, how long have you had your port? Mine took a few months to really stop hurting, and did bug me a bit right to the end especially during sleeping or if I lifted something heavy. I kept mine through herceptin because of my lack og veins. Couldn't use my left arm be ause of having so many LNs removed and felt my right arm veins we over used for all my blood draws and scans. In our area only chemo/herceptin was given through port, all blood draws and other IVs for proceedures and scans used peripheral veins.



    I can relate to the port hurting and bothering you. I just had mine out two weeks ago and i feel so much better!

    Christine

  • Linda100
    Linda100 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2012

    Hi....was interested in your question about the port. I supposed to start Herceptin treatments -- hopefully next week. I was in the ALLTO trial and those of us who were on the lapatinib (Tykerb) only arm now have to do a year of Herceptin treatments. (Wondering if any of you are going through that -- I found out the drug was taken out of the trial around September but my doctor seemed to be certain then that I didn't need the Herceptin -- a complete turn around by December, then it took about 6 weeks for insurance to say I could have it.

    Anyway .... I'm going to start without a port -- had a port before for chemotherapy treatments and then taken out in the fall of 2009 ... now here I am again, so I'm trying without it.....my doctor said I could have one put in if I didn't like it without. So, good to hear your stories.  If you have any other insights about the port or about the ALLTO trial I'd be intersted in hearing from you.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,642
    edited January 2012

    I am only getting Aredia through my port but I go to the infusion center a few days before the infusion for blood draw and flushing. All of my medical care is delivered at a large all inclusive campus so it's easy to get to the infusion center. The regular lab techs aren't trained to access the port. Like many, I noticed it in the beginning but know barely know it's there.

    Caryn

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited January 2012

    Good thread as my oncologist made an appointment for me to have a port in soon. I learned it's a day surgery. It also concerns me that there is metal in it so the nurses can detect it. I'm actually allergic to metal...can't wear a ring or a watch. I'm concern because the TE has metal in it and wonder if it will cause problems? I' thought it would only be in for a few months now learned it may have to be in there 3 months. The metal in the TE concerns me...so of course a port being in for a year for herceptin concerns me as well.

    I'm cancelling the Port surgery on Monday. It might be easier in the long run but the idea that metal inside me causes concern. An IV every three weeks doesn't seem too bad...and I'm not doing chemo.

  • krcll
    krcll Member Posts: 16
    edited January 2012

    Linda100- I'm one of the Lapatinib-only-arm people from the ALTTO trial and I am now on Herceptin. When I read about the "failing" of the Lapatinib arm here on bc.org, I rang my onc and started the Herceptin 4 days later. Scary stuff, but I think we will still end up with a better result than if we got only Herceptin. Anyway, thats how I'm thinking of it.....

     KCD-I never got a port during my chemo treatment. I have difficult veins and ended up with only one specific nurse able to get the IV in.  Now with the Herceptin, it is getting even harder. Last time (6th of 17) they stuck me 12 times before they finally had to call an anesthesiologist. Personally, I don't mind all the sticking as long as I can avoid getting a port. But if it gets so hard that I can't get the Herceptin, I'll have to give in ;-) I would think that with your giant veins, you would be fine, though. Good luck!

  • dragonfly1
    dragonfly1 Member Posts: 516
    edited January 2012
    Evebarry Regarding the port and your metal allergy-I have an extremely bad allergy to metal just like you. I can't wear anything except titanium or 14k gold as a result and I have the same problem with watches because they always have nickel in them. In fact, getting a clip inserted for my original biopsy was a nightmare because they had to find titanium ones. Anyway, my vascular surgeon chose a Bard power port and there is no metal in it-it's all plastic-I've had it for a year now with no problems. I've always had good veins but for some reason they've been terrible since chemo and the port is incredibly helpful for these frequent Herceptin infusions. Best of luck to you.
  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited January 2012

    Interesting about the plastic port. I'm allergic to gold as well. I can't wear my wedding ring.

  • KCD
    KCD Member Posts: 31
    edited January 2012

    Hi,

    My port has been in 6wks.   The pain is more a muscle pain than sharp pain.  It is aching as I type. I swam laps for the first time since my surgery and every time that arm came around my port would push up against my straps and "catch" for lack of better description, and it hurt!  I can relate to the post about removing it myself, I was ready to after that swim!   I'm thin up top also, and the bump is prominent, as is the cord, which doesn't concern me much right now as the incision is still red and eye catching...   

    My surgeon also said the port was all plastic. 

     re: flushing, what is that?  and when does it need to be done?  

    My treatments will be every three weeks, I think I'll have them try it both ways and see how it works.  

    I know its a small complaint, but the port pain when I pick up my kids, put away a glass, exercise, anything... is just a constant reminder I have cancer and I hate it.

    Thanks for all of your replies

  • mschwab
    mschwab Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2012

    I have a port and have had 16 rounds of chemo and am now getting Herceptin infusions every three weeks.  I love my port and refer to it as my "plug and play" chemo valve.  I have had no problems with it and no pain, even when it was first inserted.

  • dragonfly1
    dragonfly1 Member Posts: 516
    edited January 2012

    KCD My port was uncomfortable at first but once it healed completely I don't notice it so much anymore. I'm very thin and it's quite prominent and because it's on my left side it hurts if the seatbelt presses on it even now. Other than that I'm never aware of it and can do pretty much anything. I hate the way the port looks and it limits some of the clothing I choose to wear but I'm certainly grateful that it has saved my veins in my arm from the frequent infusions.

    Flushing the port is only required if you stop using it. For instance, I finished a year of Herceptin last week so I don't need the port for active treatment now but it was flushed with heparin at the time of every infusion. If I keep the port for a while (some oncologists prefer that you do if you are high risk) then it will need to be flushed with heparin approximately 1x monthly to prevent blood clots...

  • Anita333
    Anita333 Member Posts: 4
    edited January 2012

    I had 8 rounds of chemo and about 10 rounds of Herceptin all IV. I didn't want a port. I am drinking about 2-3 glasses of water prior to going to the hospital and there are no problems finding my veins.

    Regarding the bruises - I make sure to push my finger n the area for about 3-4 minutes and then my arm doesn't have any bruises.