• I will be staring Chemo in a week or so. Tuesday I get my port. What is the then to wear to chemo to access the port?

    Asked by Giraffe on Saturday, January 5, 2013

    I will be staring Chemo in a week or so. Tuesday I get my port. What is the then to wear to chemo to access the port?

    24 Answers from the Community

    24 answers
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      I usually wear a polo type shirt. Easy for them to access with enough coverage that I am not embarrassed to have it open. The cleanser they use seems to stain my white shirts with the stains only showing up once it is washed. Now I just wear a dark colored shirt so it doesn't show. But make it something that makes you feel good in color too.

      over 7 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Any other than a very close collared shirt is fine. Nothing like a turtle neck or T shirt with a tight neckline. Just as long as they can see and reach your port from the collar of your shirt.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I usually wore a polo type shirt but there were times I was wearing a loose fitting tee shirt (today, actually, for my port flush) and I just pull the neck down a bit and they can access it fine.

      over 7 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I always wore a button-down or zip-up shirt. Eventually, my chemo "uniform" was a zip-up sweatshirt worn over a tank top.

      over 7 years ago
    • Modern's Avatar

      I normally wear a loose tee shirt with a jacket over it it comfy and gives easy port accesse

      over 7 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      Try to wear a V-neck, button down or any shirt that allows for the port to be easily accessed.

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I would wear a loose long sleeve soft cotton knit shirt with somewhat of a "scoop" neckline -- it was warm, comfortable and provided easy access to port. I chose darker colors. sometimes, I would wear a white tank top under it if I wanted layers or wanted the comfort of an undergarment. Did they give you a cream to apply to your port before access? If so, be sure to follow the "timing" instructions. A couple of times, I applied it too soon and it did not help. Good Luck

      over 7 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      I wear a button up shirt. You only have a couple of buttons to undo while your being hooked up. I also get cold while sitting in there. Take a book. Mabey take a snack. You'll be there awhile.

      over 7 years ago
    • dollyrose's Avatar

      My port was placed under my arm pit so I would wear a shirt with a loose fitting bottom that we could lift easily during set up and removal. It worked great! Loved my port....saved all of us a lot of pain

      over 7 years ago
    • dollyrose's Avatar

      My port was inserted under my arm pit so I wore shirts with a loose fitting bottom that we could lift easily to get everything hooked up and then lowered during the chemo. It was wonderful....I loved having a port! It saved all of us (me and the nurses) a lot of grief!!

      over 7 years ago
    • Debbie's Avatar

      I had a chest port so I wore summer tank tops under a loose fitting zip up hoodie. Chemo always made me so cold, I brought a blanket/throw as well. Best of luck to you.

      over 7 years ago
    • mcowett's Avatar

      I like to wear a cotton v-neck sweater. A blouse that buttons up the front is good too. Being it's now winter, I always dress in layers with a tank top under it all.

      over 7 years ago
    • gogolf's Avatar

      I agree with all of the answers but I also tried to wear light colored clothes because the warm blankets were very linty. I also carried a lint roller in the bag I take to chemo. I have always said the I could live out of my chemo bag or my golf bag in a natural disaster.

      over 7 years ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar

      Giraffe...no one has told you how glad you will be that you got the port!! I was scared to get it...but early on saw how much easier the chemo was for me than those who had to have an IV put in each time. btw...I ended up having chemo much longer than I had imagined (18 months, with the last year once a week)...but it worked!! It is now 5 years since I received the devastating news of stage IV breast cancer. I am active and feeling great. Still dread the re-checks but got to see 2 of my children married and 2 more grandchildren to share our lives. Chemo sucks...but it works...hang in there! Also, If they offer you anti-nausea meds...take em. I never had the nausea everyone talks about. Anther thing I did was to drink lots of water day before, day of, and day after chemo. I always ate a small snack..usually 1/2 cheese sandwich before chemo. (These were tips from my chemo nurse)

      over 7 years ago
    • CAL's Avatar

      I started chemo during the Fall so usually wore a round neck T-Shirt with a sweater, but as the winter has come on I wear layers so if need be I can take off the outer layers during access but then put them back, I normally don't tolerate cold weather and even inside I am chilled so I have been use to layering for most of my 61 years. The intolerance of cold phenomena has gotten worse with each chemo infusion. On the other hand, I often have my prelab work done a day or so ahead so I have them access my port for labs and then leave the needle with "pigtail" tubing in with a clear Tegaderm dressing on. Then they don't even need to go close to my skin for IV access for chemo. While I am really glad to have my port because it saves multiple vein sticks for labs as well as chemo, doing it this way has reduced by half even the number of times my port has had to be accessed. The last chemo I had, I wore a turtle neck shirt with a sweater on top and they were able to check the dressing and skin site and discontinue the port access by just pulling the neck open more. The cleanser used is clear so I haven't ever had a problem with staining.
      Another point I'll make is that we all have different tolerances for pain with even the port access. Originally I would use some of the Emla anesthetic cream leftover from pre surgery, putting it over the port site with clear plastic wrap on top an hour before port access. I forgot it with the third access and found that the access pain was no worse than a blood draw so I just quit doing the Emla cream. Like I said, we all have different pain tolerances. My surgeries were a piece of cake pain wise, but the effects of chemo and the Neulasta I get after to boost my white blood cell count really make me have far more pain and general malaise than either of my two surgeries. This is usually the worse on the 3rd and 4th day post chemo. Until the last one, I would just take a couple days or so to just not do much of anything and still try to walk a couple miles each day. Since chemo is cumulative, this last round kept me in bed and sleeping for the better part of 48 hours and 9 days out, I still am taking a nap every day and just have little energy and my cold intolerance is really severe. I walked outside a couple days but it really made the achiness worse so for a couple days I went to the Mall or walked at work inside and that helped.

      over 7 years ago
    • jang's Avatar

      I just wore t-shirts, not white ones though. Easy access for nurse.

      over 7 years ago
    • Lroethler's Avatar

      Loose fitting t-shirt. You want to be comfortable in whatever you wear, so as long as it isn't tight fitting at the neckline, you'll be fine. Good luck and remember to relax, take a good friend or book, and remember: every drop of that medicine is fighting the cancer cells. I used to imagine the chemo as a superhero knocking out the cells one at a time. Imagery is good sometimes.

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      my port was in my upper arm, so short sleeve tops....

      over 7 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      if you can pull down the neckline with comfort to below the port... it's good. have fun with it. where a shirt that makes you feel comfy and strong... i wore a "bike jerks" t-shirt that had a relatively lose neck line for every single chemo. it was comfy and made me feel kind of like a bad XXX because i had won the shirt in a bike race. so, that gave me a sense of strength. so, the t-shirt did two jobs. it helped me feel stronger and it allowed for easy access to the port.

      so.... what do you think? do you have a shirt that can do two things at once? something that makes you feel comfy and/or strong? and allows for easy access to the port? if the answer is YES, then you have your top for chemo...

      and have a little fun with it - yes yes - that sounds cheesy... but seriously - wearing a shirt that i associated with some huge amount of fun in my life (bike racing) really helped ease my getting dressed on chemo mornings.... does that make sense? heck - you could wear a low cut lacy number.... perhaps in hot pink? or maybe you could wear a sleeveless tank top.... whatever... something that brings to mind positive things ... or strong things... that's what you want.

      good luck!

      over 7 years ago
    • sunne's Avatar

      because I get so cold, I always wear long sleeves and either a button down or zip front top, also because I have to apply the cream, my nurse told me to cover it with saran wrap, just the area around the port, always apply the on your port liberally, and then cover with the saran wrap, that's why a zip front or buttons work better for me.
      good luck

      over 7 years ago
    • maggiemaybe's Avatar

      I usually wear a snap-up or button-up shirt. Easy to get at port and easy to hide tubes.

      over 7 years ago
    • maggiemaybe's Avatar

      I usually wear a button-up or snap-up shirt. Easy to access port and easy to hide tubes.

      over 7 years ago
    • baridirects' Avatar

      I usually wear a loose fitting tank top with an open soft sweater over it, 'cause it can get chilly in those chemo rooms. I pick tanks that are older and dark colored, so if the Betadine they use to sterilize the port area gets on the cloth and the stains don't quite come out, it's no big deal. And since they leave my access in overnight so I can get fluids without having to be punctured again the next day, I simply tuck the tubing underneath my tank...and generally wear it to bed as well so the tubing doesn't get caught in the linens.

      about 7 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar


      For those of you still seeking information or advice on getting a port for chemo, I have two articles you might want to look at.

      The first is a beginner's guide on getting a port for chemo:


      The second is a blog article on "To port or not to port?" where WhatNexters weigh in on chemo ports:


      I hope you find this information useful! As always thank you for your input.

      about 7 years ago

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