• I am breaking down and letting them put a port in. I need your pros and cons please

    Asked by TOUGHERTHANIT on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    I am breaking down and letting them put a port in. I need your pros and cons please

    I have read good things, but I've also read nightmare stories about them coming undone, moving, one person said theirs came out, which I don't even know how that would be possible. I think it will be for the best, but I would like to hear from people that have actually had one, used it, and your results good or bad. Too many people have opinions about things that they have no personal experience with and I have just started to nod my head and smile at them.

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I got my port in July or August 2013. It is a godsend. My cons are minor: If you are not getting regular treatments, you must get it flushed, which necessitates a trip to the clinic. It only takes a few minutes to do so if you live near your clinic or are there for another reason, it is no big deal at all. They say every 6 weeks or so though I have waited 6 months with no adverse effects. The second con is that it protrudes a bit from your chest. I hate that because, to me, it screams "CANCER!" But, it is easy to cover up with your clothes. Another con: It can be difficult with seatbelts - get a seatbelt pillow if it bothers you. Mine is on the right and I usually drive so it normally is no problem.

      The pros are far more important. It will save your veins. There are some procedures you might have done where the medical team just does not want to use your port. They'll want to do an IV. My veins are toast from all of the treatments I got prior to getting the port so getting an IV is painful - both while they are trying to get it in ... and because it usually has to be on my hand/wrist where it is more painful.

      It is no problem at all, or mine never has been. Every once in a while a cat will stand on it or I'll bump it and that's not comfortable, but it is temporary. No worries about getting it wet - it is internal. No worries about infections, except for the brief time while they are accessing it, skin covers it.

      It is "one stick and done." if you have low pain tolerance, they can even prescribe deadening cream that you can put on it before they do the stick. I have very high pain tolerance levels and have never felt the slightest need for deadening cream. Some people really swear by it, though.

      I imagine others will post pros and I'll think, "Yeah!! Why didn't I remember to post that!!" It is truly a blessing and one of the best decisions I made regarding my cancer. I had a love-hate relationship for a while - because of its visibility, but that has long since subsided.

      I believe you will be so happy you have made this decision!

      7 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      There is a reason for ports. They save your veins and possibly your arms. I was made aware that a leakage of certain chemo drugs at an IV site could lead to necrosis and potential loss of the arm. I am not a doctor, but am pretty sure that is not good.

      I had two different ports for two different purposes over 10 years and never a problem with either. One other issue: We tend to focus on the negatives in life. Look at the news. How many heartwarming stories there?

      Why do chemo at all, since there are also nightmare stories there? Ah, but the real nightmare is not to fight the cancer at all. We KNOW what outcome that leads to.

      7 months ago
    • BreastCancer17's Avatar

      I have a power port which has only had pro's for me. No multiple toys to access a vein on me for every 3 week blood work and chemo treatment; no worries of the chemo harming my veins. When going for a CT or MRI my port can be used for the contrast if it's needed. It's on my non affected breast side so that it could be used during my mastectomy, it's been used during other procedures also. Mine gets flushed every 28 days or so, when I go in for my Zoladex injection.

      7 months ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      I had a "lump" on my chest, constantly banging it into things, seatbelt was bothersome, ever present visual reminder that "you have cancer" but, yes, definitely get the port!

      7 months ago
    • TOUGHERTHANIT's Avatar

      Thank you all so far, no "horror stories"? I hope not, I know that there are always possible bad things that can happen, but I'm confident that this will be good!

      7 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      My closest version of a "horror story" is that my first port stopped working. No big deal, it just wouldn't draw one day. It would still drip or take treatments but they couldn't get it to do blood draws. So that one was taken out and a new one put in on the other side at the same time. The second one worked great.

      The Pros will outweigh the Cons every time this conversation comes up. Yes, there are a few horror stories I've heard on this site like the port coming loose inside, under the skin and dropping, or shifting and moving.

      I've heard a few of those horror stories on this site about the port moving, dropping or turning, but those are easily corrected.

      My personal Pro list is lengthy.
      I had chemo in 88 and 89, that was back before they learned that slowly delivering the drugs was better than pushing it fast. My first experience with chemo was harsh. The drug hit my veins and burned, even the very next week I couldn't take treatment in that hand. They couldn't stick a vein. Sto they moved up to my arm. Then the next time to the other hand, then the arm on the other side.

      After 4 treatments they finally suggested I get a port. If someone would have suggested it before the first one I would have said OK, if they thought it was best! I didn't know anything about it.

      After the port, it was very nice. No more trying to stick a vein, not more veins blowing. I kept that second port for 15 years before finally letting it go. Then I was diagnosed for my third time 3 years later.

      In those 18 to 20 years since the first diagnosis, there's no telling how many times I've been stuck, repeatedly trying to get a blood draw or start an IV. My record is 9 attempts to get an IV started. I was having gallbladder surgery and from the check-in room where I started getting ready, 3 people attempted, twice each, down to the holding room outside of the OR, 2 people attempted, twice each, all the way into the OR where the anesthesiologist looked at me like I was an alien. He yelled at me, "where's your IV". I said nobody could do it, you're up! He got it with one confident stick.

      When I started treatment for my latest diagnosis I looked at the planned number of treatments, blood draws, CT scans, all with contrast, and immediately said we need a port. It was put in 3 weeks ago and it's already been used over 25 times. That's because each time I have the clinical trial injection I have a blood draw several times at pre-determined times after the injection. I am thrilled with being able to sit down in a chair and be confident that I won't be stuck multiple times, sometimes with great pain.

      Say Positively Yes to the Port!

      7 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      My doctor did not tell me about getting a port. I don't know why. I was doing my own research and came across articles about ports. I knew I was going to have a years worth of treatments and my veins move, so a port was the only way to get through this. I asked my doctor at an appointment if I could get a port. He said yes, and I got one the week before treatments started. Best thing I ever did.
      The nurses have a numbing spray that they would use and my port worked great. And most oncology nurses have a bag of tricks in case the port is giving them trouble, for whatever reason. They would have patients lay down in the chair, raise their arms and other things to get it working.
      A port is really a blessing during cancer.
      And getting it installed is nothing. They numbed the area, and put up a blue curtain thing so I couldn't see what they were doing. My daughter had just gotten engaged the week before, so during the installation, I talked with the nurse who was holding my hand and I didn't feel anything. It was installed in about 15 minutes. Not a big deal at all.

      7 months ago
    • flagwarrior's Avatar

      I think a port is a blessing. I had mine in with not only normal activities but even (stupidly, in hindsight) partook in jiu jitsu (martial arts and wrestling!). I never had a problem. It barely even hurt to have it accessed when they used the numbing spray, and it saved my veins! Especially important because I only had one good arm due to limb alert (missing lymph nodes) on other one. I would do it all over! I only recommend one thing-and that is if/when having it removed, they said I could do it awake, in the office if I wanted, but that I could opt for it in the surgery center under anesthesia to have it removed, just like how it was put in. So glad I chose the latter, because the surgeon found way more scar tissue then expected after a few months and had to really cut it out! This caused no problems at all, but would have not been pleasant if I was awake!

      7 months ago
    • Jayne's Avatar

      I've had 2 ports, 1 at diagnosis and another after recurrence. It was a good decision since it makes all the blood draws easier and saves your veins as others have said. I wasn't crazy about having the needle inserted in the port, but if it's uncomfortable, you can request a desensitizing cream. I also found it difficult to wear a seatbelt during the time I had the port, but those were minimal compared to the benefits.

      7 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      I had a port put in and found it to be the best decision I ever made during cancer treatment! It made infusions so much easier! The only drawback I had from mine was the tenderness while the site was healing and having to get it flushed every six weeks for 2 and a half years. HUGS and God bless.

      7 months ago
    • junie1's Avatar

      I've had 3 ports. 2 times on the same side,, and once on the opposite side. i' glad that i have it. in 1994 i had cancer,, and no port was put in,, so each time i was to have labs or chemo,, that had to access a vein !! that got horrible after awhile. 11
      in 2014 when i was DX again with cancer a port was put in,, I loved it!! Yes,, there is a lump on the skin where it's at,, but it doesn't bother me,, I get most things injected thur the port,, Had a CT scan done,, and PET Scans done,,, and they access a vein for them.. but that's like once a year,, maybe 2 times a year.
      I've had this port now since 2018,, the others were taken out when treatments was over.
      i'm not doing treatments at the time,, but have labs done once a month. so it's gets flushed and checked then.
      Good Luck ,,

      7 months ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar

      I had my port for three years. It was removed in March. It never bothered me and I didn't care about others seeing it as it's a great way to educate people about what it is and why it is used. I was given numbing cream I put on an hour before chemo, you cover it with saran wrap which is removed at the clinic. (I recently had allergy tests and used the same cream prior to testing.) Then they would use cold spray to insert the needle both before chemo and then for my flushes which I had once a month until they removed the port. They can access your blood through the port for your labs if you so chose.

      I was grateful to have the port as I saw other patients having vein issues and had to be stuck multiple times to receive their chemo. As we have all stressed before we all have different experiences and our bodies all react differently. Yes, there are "horror" stories about ports but I honestly believe that what you have seen here and what I have seen personally there are more positives then negatives. It is another decision to be made and I hope we have helped relieve some of your concerns. We are here for you always and wish you all the best!

      7 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      I got my port in 2014 after a Stage IV diagnosis. I still have it and love not having to have all of those sticks. I only get it flushed every 3 months now (due to pandemic). I still have lab work every 3 months to check my tumor marker levels and still have scans every 6 months - the contrast goes right through the port. I have the Bart PowerPort.

      7 months ago
    • TerriL's Avatar

      I had a port for a year during all my treatment. It was a lifesaver! Now bloodwork and contrast IVs are a nightmare because I can't use my "good vein" arm since that is the side that had cancer. If it wasn't for the fact it had to be flushed every 3 months, I would have liked to keep it.

      7 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      po18guy has a point. In fact, why cross the road at all - you may get hit by a car, bus, train.

      My port made it easy peasy for the delivery of the drugs. The tube goes all the way to about 1/4" from the heart.

      There's a 'poke' at first when they insert the needle into the skin to deliver a flush to the port. I have low tolerance to pain, so they gave me a pain-killing lotion to put on 1-2 hours before my injections. No pain!

      Some people just over think, it's their personality. Can't change personality, but choices can be changed. Choose to start looking, as po18guy suggested, on the bright side. We are a negative lot

      7 months ago
    • Lisamoses' Avatar

      Had my port in place for about one year. No problems at all. A little sore after they placed it for a few days. Other than that, I think the only time I was ever bothered by it was if the seat belt rubbed against it the wrong way. Good luck with your decision.

      7 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Every port is different. I actually ended up begging the nurses to use my vein because accessing the port was so painful. A numbing cream helped a little, I used it for the Chemo pump but for all other infusions I asked them to use the vein. They had to access it to flush it. It ended up causing a blood clot and failing in the end. I said don't replace it.

      7 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      I still have my first port (Bard Power Port), but not in my chest. When it was pulled to be replaced with a vortex post, I asked nurse if I could have it. "No!" she replied, "it's a biohazard.' Well, I said, then what is it doing in my chest? :-D Anyway, I mentioned the same to my doctor. He said that he could not give it to me - but that occasionally, they overlooked a few details. When I awoke, there was a small red biohazard bag on the counter nearby - with my port in it. I now have it in a shadowbox, which DW forbids me from hanging on the dining room wall...

      7 months ago
    • BreastCancer17's Avatar

      @po18guy my oncologist has written in my EHR that patient wishes to keep port as long as possible; I'm sure there's more after like crazy lady or something. lol It's my security blanket in my mind, as long as I my Bard Power Port I won't go on to stage IV. I will have had mine for 3 years on July 24.

      7 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      PO, we still have my second one. Somewhere, we were going to do a shadowbox but never did it. I need to dig that thing out and build a little box for it, then hang my radiation mask above it. Maybe I could start a "room of horrors", but then again, depending on your point of view, it could be called "my saving grace".

      You see, it's always in the way you look at it.

      7 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      One drawback is that it has to be flushed after you are done with it. It really is nothing to be concerned with. It takes about five minutes, if that. I had my port almost two years and after the year of treatment was over, I had to get it flushed every six weeks. Not a big deal at all.

      6 months ago

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