To port or not to port? – WhatNexters Weigh in on Chemo Ports

by GregP_WN

Getting a port for chemotherapy is a decision that a lot of WhatNexters have faced. A port, also known as a mediport or a portacath, is an access device used to give chemotherapy treatment. 

Power Port

While it’s really a personal preference, getting or not getting a port is something that will affect you every time you get chemo treatment and in some ways will affect your daily life. None of these bits shared by WhatNexters should be considered “rule” or medical advice, but maybe these personal experiences could help you make your decision. Only you can make the decision, but these insights could give you a clue of what you may like or dislike about having a port.

If you want to know more about ports, read our Guide on Understanding Chemo Ports that talks about what a port is, when it is used, port placement, port surgery, cleaning and care, and port removal.

Pros of a Chemo Port
Common reasons why WhatNexters enjoyed having a port for chemo were that they did not like receiving chemotherapy in their veins with needles, and that they felt it was overall easier for them to get chemotherapy. In their own words, here are some pros from WhatNexters on how they felt about having a chemo port.

“I like having the port because my veins roll so it usually takes multiple stabs and I bruise easily.” -nancyjac

“I am a person who is grateful for her port. Makes every infusion and blood draw less painful and much less stressful for me.” -gwendolyn

“I had to have 12 rounds of chemo and I hate needles. I opted for the port and really like it.” -Chemobrain35

“I remember feeling scared while I was considering a port. But since getting my port in, I have been grateful for it hundreds of times. Makes chemo, blood draws, etc. a non-event. I'm really glad I have it. Doesn't give me any trouble other than discomfort when my seatbelt rests against that area.” -gwendolyn

Cons of a Chemo Port
There are a few things that WhatNexters did not like about the chemo port, including some daily inconvenience that it caused when sleeping or when clothes rubbed against it. Also, some WhatNexters did not like having a visual reminder of their cancer. Others did not want to have an additional surgery.

“The only con I had was some bruising at the port site for about a week after it was implanted.” -Nancebeth

“I had enough surgery after a lumpectomy and did not want a chemo port surgery or another operation. Since I only had four treatments and had good veins my oncologist said I would be fine without a port.” -Loafer

“It is a bit of an annoyance at times. Mine is lower than I'd like, so wearing a seatbelt when it was tender was difficult.” -GypsyJule

I didn’t want a daily reminder sticking out of my chest and I didn’t like the idea of having another scar on my chest.” -Julie99

It Might Be a Love/Hate Relationship
If you’re on the fence about deciding for or against a port, it might be comforting to know that some WhatNexters admit to having a love/hate relationship with their port. This means that even if it wasn’t their favorite thing about chemotherapy, they appreciated it and saw value in having one. Below are two examples of how WhatNexters describe their love/hate relationship with their chemo port.

“I had a love/hate relationship with my port. I'm glad I had it because my arm veins were then NOT used for chemo treatments. This means I still have good veins. Also, the “stabber” never has to hunt for your vein. The needle is simply popped into the port, and voila! You're ready to go. The downside was that it was on my left side, which was the side I use for my messenger bag and it was perfectly positioned to get irritated by the seatbelt on the driver's side of our car. And I always felt this pulling sensation...and I couldn't happily sleep on my tummy...So, yes, love/hate.” -leepenn

“My port was sore for about a week after each chemotherapy. I can't wait to have it removed. But hold on, with that being said, it was worth it for me to have a port! My main advice is that you should get a team that does implantation constantly to do the procedure to limit any mishaps. Try for someone who "does this procedure all day every day!" (if possible).” -Ivy

Ultimately, if you decide to get a port or have already done so, try to make the best of it by focusing on the good things. If you are “not to port,” that’s okay too, everyone is different. Either way be sure to discuss this stuff with your doctor!

Now we want to hear from you. What do you like and dislike about your port? How did you decide? Is it a love/hate relationship like other WhatNexters have come to realize?

Related Questions:

Pros and cons of port for chemo - what is your experience?

Can anyone tell me about this port implant they want to put in me?

Port vs. no port?

Did you have good experiences with a port?

What was it like getting a port put in?

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