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  • Port-a-Cath - Yes or No?

    Well, I'm only about a week or so away from the start of 4xEP. Luckily for me, I live within 1/8 mile of a hospital with a very good oncology treatment center so I'm going to have it done there.

    I have yet to meet with the Oncologist that will be monitoring my treatment but I'd like to know if I should request a port-a-cath right away.

    I did some searching on this site and the general consensus seems to be that it's the best way to go and even some "tough guys" regreted not getting one earlier in their treatment.

    Anyone with other pros or cons?
    TC diagnosed 4/3/06, [email protected]; Left I/O 4/10/06; Stage IIa Non-Seminoma, 100% Yolk Sac; Started 4xEP 5/22/06 with [email protected]; Finshed 4xEP 8/11, AFP normal, CT scans clear! Now on surveillance

  • #2
    After watching my son get stabbed everday I would go with the port. If I ever have to choose that's what I will do for myself.
    Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

    Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

    Comment


    • #3
      I just finished 3 x BEP...I did not get a cath as my doctor, who is very experienced in treating testicular cancer....said he did not think it would be necessary.

      Critical factors...I have never had any problems getting an IV started...nurses will often say I had good veins...easy to find...I never had any issues when I'd get an IV either - it never bothered me in the past.

      Also, during the 5 straight chemo days, I was in the hospital...I know some do outpatient where they get a new IV each day.

      ...AND...they'd start and IV monday and I was always able to use the same IV for all 5 days...most patients they said after 72 hours they need to change...so I would get one IV per week instead of 2.

      Now, when I'd go to outpatient for my monday bleo push...those nurses were used to patients with ports...so I would routinely get jabbed 3x before they'd get it right...I learned to ask for the best IV nurse...where I went there were 20 or so chairs and just as many nurses.

      Also, towards the end of the treatments, my red blood counts were quite low, which I understand can make finding a working vein harder...so that would result in more sticks...on my final CT scan the nurse, who was a whiz at starting IV's - she did 45 each day - took 3x....but I don't believe for the CT scan they'd use a port anyway, due to the iodine for contrast...the port patients I would be waiting with always seemed to still need an IV for their CT scan at the end of treatment.

      I would probably get a port if I had to do it over, as it got to the point where what I feared worst...if you could call it that....was my monday bleo push and those IV trys....I got used to loving the sound of the tape being prepped, as I knew that meant the IV was fine and they were taping up the tubes...I'd actually tell myself it would take 5 trys...so if it took 2 or 3 I would be glad....

      If they hit my vein on the first or even 2nd try on the outpatient days, I'd probably feel otherwise and not suggest the port...

      last, I did have to go in the hospital an extra 4 days between the 2nd and 3rd stays for a fever they thought could be an infection, and that was another IV start....but that went in first try as it always seemed to when I was in the hospital.
      - lump first noticed 11/20/2005
      - I/O right Dec 8, 2005
      - 95% embryonal / 5% seminoma
      - normal markers PRE surgery
      - no vascular invasion, tunica free of cancer, epididymis free of cancer, lungs free, lymph free
      - Stage I diagnosis
      - surveillance
      - mid feb '06, beta hcg slightly elevated = 4.6...small enlarged lower node seen on CT scan...
      - 3BEP began feb 20, 2006
      - finished 3 BEP, last bleo, april 17, 2006
      - CT scan, blood markers, chest..all clear
      - back on surveillance

      Comment


      • #4
        My doctor told me I wouldn't need it. I did a little research and agreed. Even though I was poke about 40-50 times (new IV each day of chemo+hospital stays, etc), I would still not get a port. Sure, I was in agony toward the end of treatment, but I would do it the same. Here's why: First, ports can be a source of infection. Second, the chemo trashed the veins on my arm. I had bumps in my arm veins for about seven months after. A port is a cathader that goes near your heart. I would rather have it mess up my arm veins than the possibility of it messing up the veins near my heart. (I am not a doctor, this is just my therory)

        If you don't go with a port, be sure to drink PLENTY of liquids during treatment. This will help keep your veins "poke-able".
        ________
        AlineX
        Last edited by BeachTech; 08-12-11, 12:14 AM.
        BeachTech
        Diagnosis
        Diagnosed May 2005
        Stage IIa
        Pure Embryonic Carcinoma
        One 2.0cm tumor in testicle
        One 1.0cm tumor in lymph node

        Treatment
        Radical orchiectomy
        Two cycles of BEP
        Two cycles of EP (the Bleo was causing lung issues)

        Complications
        Pulmonary Embolism (Almost died)
        Extremely low red blood count (Required 4 blood transfusion)

        Status
        In remission since August 2005
        July 2011-tumor markers clean!

        Favorite Question
        "Which testicle did they remove?"

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a port and would highly reccommend it. The surgery to install it was very minor and removing it was even easier. I had a double lumen put in, but if you're just having chemo, a single would be fine.
          Left I/O 5/9/05, 100% Embryonal Call Carcinoma, Stage IIIa, Laparoscopic RPLND 7/19/05, 4X EP 9/05-11/05

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, yes, yes! Get a port. The only minor inconvenience is an extra drug to take daily (coumadin). It makes life easier, especially on the weeks when you have infusions over multiple days - you can usually keep the access line for the entire week. It can be used for infusions and for blood draws.

            It's just a lot better to have a small stick for infusions rather than getting poked repeatedly while the nurse searches for a vein.
            Vinny (aka Frank)
            http://vinnysgotcancer.blogspot.com

            left I/O 1/5/05; 95%EC / 5% mature teratoma; stage IIIC
            4x BEP 1/24/05 - 4/11/05; RPLND (left side) 5/31/05
            VATS resection of teratoma from left lung 4/26/06
            Presently surveilling

            Comment


            • #7
              Another "Yes" Port Vote

              I would have a port installed. I had one put in at the insistence of my oncologist, and I'm so glad I did. Here's why:

              --The procedures to install it and remove it were quite minor. Not pleasant, but minor.
              --I had 4xBEP, so the port saved my arm veins. Otherwise, my arms would look like the moon's surface.
              --One of my oncology nurses told me how much more efficient the port is. She said that instead of having chemo dumped into one little arm or hand vein, it's introduced into a large vein and distributed through your bloodstream more evenly and effectively.
              --I was jabbed countless times, and the port kept discomfort to a minimum. I can't imagine having my arms "explored" that many times.

              On the down side, the port's bit inconvenient and uncomfortable. Not too bad, though.

              Just my two cents. I'd certainly have it done.
              Left I/O 6/24/05
              100% Embryonal Cell Carcinoma, Stage III
              4xBEP August - October 2005
              Surveillance since Nov. 2005

              Comment


              • #8
                I had a groshong picc line (that ran up my bicep and into my svc) for the 2nd/3rd cycles of BEP. I would highly recommend it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree wholeheartedly to get the port. I did NOT get one for 3xBEP and by the third cycle, the nurses spent 30-40 minutes everyday (or every three days if they could leave it in) trying to get a line started. of course, all the poking and prodding made me nervous and I'd start to sweat and that only made it worse.
                  Age 33, Right I/O Mar '05, 90% embryonal, 10% teratocarcinoma, Surv until 4 mo CT (+), 3 x BEP Aug/Sep '05, CT 10/05 ok, CT 2/06 ok, CT 3/06 ok, CT 6/06 ok, X-Ray, Blood 8/06 ok, Sperm Count 09/06: Low but active, CT 10/06 ok, X-ray 12/06 ok, CT 02/07 ok, X-ray/blood 4/07 ok, CT 6/07 ok, X-ray/blood 09/07, CT 10/07 ok, CT 4/08 ok, CT 10/08 ok

                  LAST NIGHT I DREAMT 1000 LIES
                  I CAN SEE THE DAWN
                  THROUGH A DIFFERENT SET OF EYES

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My son had the pic line installed during his last 3xBEP round. He wished he had it installed in round one. I believe it is less invasive than the port. Dianne
                    Spouse: I/O 8/80; embryonal, seminoma, teratoma; RPLND 9/80 - no reoccurrence - HRT 8/80; bladder cancer 11/97; reoccurrence: 4X
                    Son: I/O 11/04; embryonal, teratoma; VI; 3XBEP; relapse 5/08; RPLND 6/18/08 - path: mature teratoma

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Get one. It is not something that you will regret. The surgery to have it put in was really minor. I even changed a tire on my pickup right after surgery. It definitely made things easier when it came to getting poked. So if you have a thing against needles it is definitely worth it. As far as infection and down side to having one, they are far outwieghed by the positives, easy access, more evenly distibutes the chemo, no track marks on your arms, saves your veins. They basically make everything about chemo easier. Hope that chemo goes well, and remember to keep fighting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the replies. I'm going to request one before I start treatment.

                        Sounds like it will take a lot of the hassle out of the process.

                        Dave
                        TC diagnosed 4/3/06, [email protected]; Left I/O 4/10/06; Stage IIa Non-Seminoma, 100% Yolk Sac; Started 4xEP 5/22/06 with [email protected]; Finshed 4xEP 8/11, AFP normal, CT scans clear! Now on surveillance

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I highly recommend one as well. I'm a wuss when it comes to needles. In fact on my very last visit for my last session of bleo my port started acting up. The nurse ended up having to give me an IV and that hurt like hell. It made me realize how great of a decision I had made to get the port.

                          They won't even put you all the way under for the installation. And when you get it taken out it's done in the surgeons office. Takes about 30-40 minutes. They just deaden the area and cut the port out.

                          On an interesting side note, upon the doctor removing the port(last week) he noticed the tubing was ripped in two places. There also was a nasty blood clot lodged in the tubing. It might of had something to do with my working out the past three or so months. I guess I'm just getting too buff! LOL
                          I/O March 05
                          40% Seminoma, 60% Embryonal Carcinoma
                          3xBEP June-Sept
                          Nodes pre chemo 1.9cm, after .8mm
                          Surveillance now every 6 months
                          May 2007 - CT & markers clear
                          Nodes now completely undetectable

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A port is a cathader that goes near your heart. I would rather have it mess up my arm veins than the possibility of it messing up the veins near my heart.
                            I am starting 3 x BEP next week....so no doubt I will need to consider this also. I have no idea on choosing the portacath or PICC line. I am hoping to go the less painful! Going by what I have read, it looks as though the PICC line leaves a tube hanging out your arm?

                            btw - I hate needles!!! I can handle the small ones used to take blood, but those bigger ones kill. (yes I am a wuss) I will be having my 5 days on as an in-patient, so maybe its not worth it?
                            Last edited by Fed; 07-14-10, 10:39 PM. Reason: Fixed closed quote tag

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                            • #15
                              Wai, my son was 5 days in-patient. He still wishes he had it from day 1. Good luck to you. You will get bored in the hospital but the benefits are tremendous. They will handle any side effects immediately and they will have you hooked up to an IV 24/5 so they can flush that chemo out of your system. Dianne
                              Spouse: I/O 8/80; embryonal, seminoma, teratoma; RPLND 9/80 - no reoccurrence - HRT 8/80; bladder cancer 11/97; reoccurrence: 4X
                              Son: I/O 11/04; embryonal, teratoma; VI; 3XBEP; relapse 5/08; RPLND 6/18/08 - path: mature teratoma

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