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Catheters and Ports

Posted 8/22/2016

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  This is either completely relevant to your situation or of little interest. However, before you just click off the site, please consider whether it is helpful to have some information about ports and catheters. Even if, blessedly, this is not a current issue, it might come up for you or someone whom you know in the future. Ports and catheters are devices that are surgically implanted to provide a permanent (at least as long as it is there) access to a vein. This means that multiple painful attempts to find/access an arm or hand vein are no longer necessary. For people who are facing a long period of chemotherapy, a port is often a very good option.

  Everyone whom I have known who had a port was unhappy with the suggestion. Some people resisted for quite a while until the needle sticks became too much. Every single person whom I have known was then glad to have it. Of course it is not a fun procedure (although they put you out, and it's short, so not too bad) and of course no one wants this piece of medical equipment under their skin. But it can make life much easier and much less painful. And, when treatment is done, it can be removed.

  From ASCO Answers comes this information sheet:

Catheters & Ports in Cancer Treatment

What are catheters and ports?
Catheters are long, narrow, hollow tubes made of
soft plastic that are inserted into a vein. Your health
care team uses them to give medications, blood
transfusions, or fluids or to take samples of blood
for testing. Treatments are given through a small
device connected to the catheter. Your doctor may
put a catheter completely under the skin. If so, it is
connected to a small plastic or metal disc called a port
or port-o-cath. A port may remain in place for years, if

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