PICC Line?

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    Kathy –
    I had a PICC line as it was the fastest way for my team to get me lined up for chemo on a Friday afternoon. PICC lines are usually inserted in arm and can be inserted by a nurse like an IV, whereas (in general terms) a PORT is implanted in an O/P surgery setting by a surgeon.

    I had my PICC for 4+ months and was doing chemo every 2 weeks. I opted to have the port put in last December as it really offers much more freedom; for example, with the PICC I had to have someone flush it with heparin solution every night and change the dressing at least once a week, more if heavy exercise. Because of its location, you can’t do this yourself (unless you have an extra arm and hand). I would also have to cover my arm in saran wrap as you cannot get a PICC insertion wet when showering. PICCs limit your independence somewhat but if therapy is planned for a short time they will work well.

    When I had my PORT inserted, once the incision site healed after a few days I was able to shower and swim and the chemo nurse flushes it once every two weeks. It is under the skin and a physician usually inserts it as the insertion point is close to the top of the lung, so it’s a little more involved. Pain after incision was minimal and anesthesia was light (twilight sleep). The chemo infusion insertion is with a special needle and you hardly feel anything. Everyone I have talked to has commented they were so happy to get a port – and they can last for years if necessary.
    Hope this helps! Best of luck with the Port.



    Was the picc line or port in the chest able to be taken out? Or can it be? I’m just trying to prepare myself for what’s coming.



    Kathy…my husband’s picc line had been placed in the chest as was the port.
    Best wishes,


    Thank you all for responding. It helps so much to gather other peoples’ thoughts. And Ron, please continue posting. I can’t even find your post right now, but hopefully it’s my “chemo brain” not working. I cherish all your posts.


    Another question: Not having much knowledge on this, I thought a PICC line was in the arm and a port was in the chest. Is that wrong? Can a port be taken out like a PICC line. I had a PICC line last fall for 24/7 chemo and was very glad when it was taken out.


    Kathy…..we also found the use of a port very helpful for chemo treatments. A picc line was used (much later) for TPN.
    Best wishes,


    Ron, don’t you dare stop posting, I have always liked your posts. I would be annoyed too with a port that is not being used. Honestly I would probably be annoyed with a lot of things, old age you know.


    I was in the same situation as you– the tumors weren’t growing and seemed to be stable– so I decided to wait with chemo and see what happened. 18 months later, they’re still stable.

    My oncologist was very supportive of my decision. He said “if a particular chemo drug will work now, it will also work a few months from now.” He also said that there are two reasons to treat with chemo– if it can cure a patient (which in my case, it can’t) or make the patient feel better (and in my case, it sure can’t, because I feel great!) I go to see him every two months and have bloodwork done– my liver enzymes are always a little bit high, but they don’t change much, and CA19-9 is normal.

    So, that’s what I decided. Just something for you to think about.

    Wishing you all the best,




    I am glad that you are feeling so well and that you have been able to make a decision on what to do for now. I agree with Margaret that quality of life is an important consideration in deciding to treat or not. It is a hard call. You have gotten a lot of great in put from those who are also dealing with this and what is working for them, but everyones situation is different and only you can decide what is best for you. Wishing you the best and hoping that you will feel good for a long time to come.

    Love & Hugs,



    My mom had a power port and it was one of the best decisions we made during her illness.

    She was able to have all of her bloodwork collected and contrast administered for scans. It saved her MUCH discomfort and pain!

    I highly recommend it!

    As to chemo…that’s a personal decision. Knowing what I know, I would choose it for me. I’m a fighter by nature and for me that would be the choice.

    Listen to your “gut” and go with your feelings. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer…just what’s best for YOU!

    Hugs to you!



    My husband Tom has a 2.5cm tumor in the confluence of the right biliary tree that is inoperable. Radiation did appear to shrink his tumor.

    He had a PICC line after his initial surgery. It was in his upper right arm through which I adminstered his antibotics three times a day. He’d rather have a PICC line then an external drain bag for the bile! At least the PICC line can be wrapped with a bandage and then it’s no bother! But the drain bag, Ughhh! It’s a pain to say the least.

    Ron, one can only question the ‘quality of life’ when one is going through this cancer and the treatment that is offered. I too tell my husband that he and I are together, but when I look into his eyes there are days when all I see is dispair. We want to be able to kick this thing back into the nether regions, but one’s body and spirit can only take so much and no matter what our loved ones decide, we have to be strong and support their decisions. As caretakers we too can only do so much. Being by their side and supporting them in whatever decison they make is the best thing we can do.

    Go with God. Prayers are coming your way.

    KEEP KICKIN’ THAT cancer.

    Margaret and Tom (my husband and Cholangiocarcinoma)


    I have a port and love it. I had a reaction to oxilaplatin when it went through my arm, but not with the port. Plus, my veins have always been small and difficult for the nurses and the port really just lets them plug things into me without a problem. I get everything through my port…chemo, bloodwork, contrast for scans….everything and it has made life so much simpler.



    Once a week chemo, Gemzar & Cisplatin, for six months has been suggested.
    I’ve decided to wait for 2-3 months to start as I am feeling so good. I had radiation and chemo last fall (Sept and Oct) for two months. The “large” tumor didn’t shrink, but treatment stopped it from growing and seems to be stable. This decision has me doubting whether or not I should start now. That’s why I’m up at after 2am typing this. Can’t sleep. Is it ok to wait?

    Does anyone have a port or picc line for chemo? I had a picc line last fall and it was so nice to get it out.

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