Friday, February 3, 2023
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Breast Cancer Chemo Port Picture

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Chemotherapy Port: The Risks and Benefits

If you do not live near the treatment center, it can be hard to get to and from chemotherapy sessions.

If you need a ride to and from treatment, or have child or elder care needs that make getting to treatments difficult, there may be resources available.

Family and friends often want to help, but dont know how. These may be ways for them to get involved. Its OK to ask for help.

There are also programs that help with child and elder care costs.

Komen Financial Assistance Program

Susan G. Komen® created the Komen Financial Assistance Program to help those struggling with the costs of breast cancer treatment by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals.

Funding is available for eligible individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment at any stage or living with metastatic breast cancer .

To learn more about this program and other helpful resources, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN or email .

Se habla español.

Arrange For Someone To Take You Home

You must have a responsible care partner take you home after your procedure. A responsible care partner is someone who can help you get home safely. They should be able to contact your care team if they have any concerns. Make sure to plan this before the day of your procedure.

If you dont have a responsible care partner to take you home, call one of the agencies below. Theyll send someone to go home with you. Theres a charge for this service, and youll need to provide transportation. Its OK to use a taxi or car service, but you still need a responsible care partner with you.

Agencies in New York

Data Extraction And Quality Assessment

Data were extracted from the enrolled publications by two authors independently as listed: the first author, publication country and year, participants’ age, sample size, the type and number of complication cases, the mean duration of catheter, and the types of the study design. The quality of the included articles was evaluated based on the National Institutes of Health Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies .

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Removing Your Chemo Port

Your chemo port can remain in place for as long as youre undergoing treatments. Sometimes, the port may be left in for years after chemo is done. In that case, you can continue to use it for follow-up blood testing or for additional treatments if your cancer returns.

I kept in for two years after I completed my chemo, said one member. It was so much easier to have blood drawn.

Chemo ports can be taken out with simple outpatient surgery, which is similar to what was done to place the port. Because these procedures involve only small incisions, they often heal easily.

One member described seeing where a neighbors port had been removed: She pulled aside her T-shirt and showed me where she finally had her port removed, and I could not see a thing! She had to indicate the slight scarring, but I would not have noticed.

Menstrual Changes And Fertility Issues

Almost 5 years after my 2nd cancer diagnosis, I finally had my port

For younger women, changes in menstrual periods are a common side effect of chemo. Premature menopause and infertility may occur and could be permanent. If this happens, there is an increased risk of heart disease, bone loss, and osteoporosis. There are medicines that can treat or help prevent bone loss.

Even if your periods stop while you are on chemo, you may still be able to get pregnant. Getting pregnant while on chemo could lead to birth defects and interfere with treatment. If you have not gone through menopause before treatment and are sexually active, its important to discuss using birth control with your doctor. It is not a good idea for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to take hormonal birth control , so its important to talk with both your oncologist and your gynecologist about what options would be best for you. When women have finished treatment , they can safely go on to have children, but it’s not safe to get pregnant while being treated.

If you think you might want to have children after being treated for breast cancer, talk with your doctor soon after being diagnosed and before you start treatment. For some women, adding medicines, like monthly injections with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analog, along with chemo, can help them have a successful pregnancy after cancer treatment. To learn more, see Female Fertility and Cancer.

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Placing Your Chemo Port

Your port will need to be placed with outpatient surgery before you undergo chemotherapy. The port can be used immediately, the same day that it is put in.

Your doctor should tell you how to prepare for surgery, such as removing other devices like insulin pumps. In the operating room, after monitors are placed, you will be given anesthesia to put you to sleep or keep you comfortable.

During surgery, the doctor will make two incisions one at your chest, where the reservoir will go, and the other at the base of your neck, where the other end of the port will connect to a vein. Before making the incisions, the doctor will inject a numbing medicine, and afterward, the cuts will be closed with stitches, surgical tape, or surgical glue. Overall, port placement surgery does not take long.

It is a pretty easy surgery about 45 minutes, wrote one MyBCTeam member. Mine was done under twilight sleep, so I was awake but could not feel pain.

Another shared, I was put completely under for my port placement. It was definitely sore and swollen and bruised for a while.

Mine was put in at the same time as my mastectomy was done, said one member. It was a small incision and healed very quickly.

No one had told me it was going to hurt, and I wasnt prepared for that, shared a member.

Another member posting the day after surgery said, It doesnt hurt except if you hit it.

Types Of Implanted Ports

Ports can be shaped like a circle, oval, or triangle. Your port may be a Mediport®, BardPort®, PowerPort®, or Port-A-Cath®. They can be a single lumen port or a double lumen port . Your healthcare provider will choose the one thats best for you and your treatments.

Single Lumen Port

A single lumen port has 1 access point. Most people get a single lumen port.

Double Lumen Port

A double lumen port has 2 access points. You can put a needle in each access point. You may get a double lumen port if you usually need more than 1 point of access for treatment.

Figure 3. Single and double lumen ports

Power-Injectable Ports

Most implanted ports are made to be used during imaging tests. These include computed tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging . These ports let you have high speed injections of contrast. These are called power-injectable ports .

Your healthcare provider will tell you if you have a power-injectable port. They will also give you a wallet card with information about your port. Carry this card with you at all times.

Figure 4. Single and double power-injectable ports

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Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

Intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, is a specialized form of 3D-CRT that allows radiation to be more exactly shaped to fit the tumor. With IMRT, the radiation beam can be broken up into many “beamlets,” and the intensity of each beamlet can be adjusted individually. Using IMRT, it may be possible to further limit the amount of radiation that is received by healthy tissue near the tumor. In some situations, this may also allow a higher dose of radiation to be delivered to the tumor, potentially increasing the chance of a cure.

Increased Risk Of Leukemia

Port placement for chemo breast cancer

Very rarely, certain chemo drugs, such as doxorubicin , can cause diseases of the bone marrow, such as myelodysplastic syndromes or even acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells. If this happens, it is usually within 10 years after treatment. For most women, the benefits of chemo in helping prevent breast cancer from coming back or in extending life are far likely to exceed the risk of this rare but serious complication.

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How To Sleep On The Side Of The Body

Although it is preferable for people with a chemo port to sleep on their back, side sleeping is a possibility. However, side sleepers will need to consider a few things once their chemo port is in place.

Immediately after the procedure, the skin will be sensitive and may hurt. It is advisable to avoid any unnecessary contact or pressure. Due to this, a person will need to sleep on their back until the area heals.

After the skin heals, it is still not a good idea to apply pressure to the area, as doing so can lead to irritation or discomfort. To sleep on the side without applying pressure to the chest, people can try:

  • using body pillows to support their body and prevent them from rolling onto their front
  • placing a pillow between the knees
  • placing large pillows on one side of the bed to discourage sleeping on the side of the body with the chemo port

How Should I Care For Myself During Radiation Therapy

  • Get plenty of rest. Many patients experience fatigue during radiation therapy, so it is important to make sure you are well rested. If possible, ask friends and family to help out during treatment, by running errands and preparing meals. This will help you get the rest you need to focus on fighting your cancer.
  • Follow doctor’s orders. In many cases, your doctor will ask you to call if you develop a fever of 101° or higher. Be sure to read your instructions as far as caring for yourself during treatment.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. A dietitian, nurse or doctor may work with you to make sure you are eating the right foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need. With certain types of radiation, you may need to change your diet to minimize side effects. You should not attempt to lose weight during radiation therapy since you need more calories due to your cancer and treatment.
  • Treat the skin that is exposed to radiation with extra care. The skin in the area receiving treatment may become red and sensitive, similar to getting a sunburn. Your radiation oncology nurse will review specific instructions for caring for your skin with you. Some guidelines include:
  • Clean the skin daily with warm water and a mild soap recommended by your nurse.
  • Avoid using any lotions, perfumes, deodorants or powders in the treatment area unless approved by your doctor or nurse. Try not to use products containing alcohol and perfumes.
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    What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

    Coping with a diagnosis of cancer and researching the various treatment options can be a stressful experience. To assist you in this process, below is a list of questions you may want to ask your radiation oncologist if you are considering radiation therapy.

    Questions to ask before treatment

    • What type and stage of cancer do I have?
    • What is the purpose of radiation treatment for my type of cancer?
    • How will the radiation therapy be given? Will it be external beam or brachytherapy? What do the treatments feel like?
    • For how many weeks will I receive radiation? How many treatments will I receive per week?
    • What are the chances that radiation therapy will work?
    • Can I participate in a clinical trial? If so, what is the trial testing? What are my benefits and risks?
    • What is the chance that the cancer will spread or come back if I do not have radiation therapy?
    • Will I need chemotherapy, surgery or other treatments? If so, in what order will I receive these treatments? How soon after radiation therapy can I start them?
    • How should I prepare for this financially?
    • What are some of the support groups I can turn to during treatment?
    • If I have questions after I leave here, who can I call?
    • Will radiation therapy affect my ability to have children?
    • Do you take my insurance?

    Questions to ask during Treatment

    Questions to ask After Treatment Ends

    Caring For A Chemo Port

    Comfy Chemo Chemotherapy Port Access Clothing

    After your port is implanted and the area has healed, you can return to regular tasks and exercise, including swimming. Avoid contact sports that might damage your port.

    When your port is in use, a see-through bandage will cover the needle. You donât need a bandage when the port isnât in use, and you should treat the skin over it just like the rest of your skin.

    If you donât use your port for 4 weeks, it needs to be flushed. Only a health care worker can do this. Flushing your port ensures blood or medicine doesnât clog it up.

    Call your doctor if you have pain, swelling, or bruising at your portâs site if pus or fluid is coming out of the opening in your skin where the port goes or if that area looks irritated or feels tender or hot.

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    What Is A Chemotherapy Port And Why Is It Needed

    A chemotherapy port is a small disc or reservoir that can be made of plastic or metal, with a rubber seal at the top. A thin, soft, flexible tube, called a line or catheter, goes from this disc, which faces the outside of your body, directly into a large vein.

    A chemo port is usually inserted just below your collarbone, or less often, the upper arm. It is about the size of a quarter and creates a small bump under your skin, which can be covered by clothing.

    Chemotherapy drugs and other fluids or medications can be given directly through the port. This is done with a special needle that goes into an access point within the port. The fluids or medications flow through the catheter and directly into a large vein. Blood can also be drawn this way.

    This is typically a lot easier and less painful than having needles constantly inserted into your veins.

    How Chemotherapy Drugs Are Given

    Most chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer are given by vein in an outpatient setting at a hospital or clinic. Often, a combination of 2 or 3 chemotherapy drugs is used.

    At each visit, an IV is inserted into your arm, allowing the drugs to drip into the bloodstream.

    A few chemotherapy drugs are pills.

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    S Of Your Implanted Port

    The parts of the implanted port are the port, septum, and catheter .

    Port and Septum

    The port is the starting point for fluids to flow through the catheter. It sits under your skin and has a raised center called a septum. This is the part of the port where needles will be placed. Its also called the access point.

    The septum is made from a self-sealing rubber material. Nothing can enter the port without a needle in it. The septum closes once the needle is removed.

    Catheter

    The catheter is a thin, flexible plastic tube. One end is connected to your port. The other end sits in your vein.

    Figure 2. Parts of your port

    Chemotherapy Ports Benefits And Risks

    My Metaplastic Breast Cancer- How the port works during chemo

    A chemotherapy port is a small device implanted under the skin that is attached to a vein in the chest to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the body. Without a port, a new intravenous needle would need to be placed each and every time you have chemo.

    A chemo port differs from a peripherally inserted central catheter , which is implanted into a vein in your arm and used for a shorter period of time.

    This article explains why a chemotherapy port is needed and how the device is implanted. It also outlines the benefits and risks of a chemo port and how infection and other complications are avoided.

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    For Metastatic Breast Cancer

    Chemo can be used as the main treatment for women whose cancer has spread outside the breast and underarm area to distant organs like the liver or lungs. Chemo can be given either when breast cancer is diagnosed or after initial treatments. The length of treatment depends on how well the chemo is working and how well you tolerate it.

    Getting A Chemotherapy Infusion Step By Step

    Together, you and your doctor choose a chemotherapy treatment plan that is tailored to your unique situation.

    Its most common to get chemotherapy as an infusion through a needle, port, or catheter, so weve summarized the general steps below.

    You meet with your oncologist. Your doctor looks at your medical records including the results of any tests and imaging youve had and does a physical exam.

    Your doctor recommends a chemotherapy regimen and explains how long each cycle lasts, as well as the regimens benefits and side effects.

    A member of your healthcare team also reviews the treatment consent form with you before asking you to sign it.

    Your healthcare team also lets you know if there are any foods or other medicines you should avoid while receiving chemotherapy. Its very important to tell your healthcare team about all the other prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take. Certain medicines, vitamins, and supplements can interact with chemotherapy medicines, making them stronger or weaker.

    At this appointment, you are likely to schedule your first chemotherapy treatment.

    Before chemotherapy starts, the doctor needs a blood sample to see your blood count the number of red and white blood cells. Your doctor reviews this information before each chemotherapy cycle.

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