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Button port pros and cons for chemo infusions?

My oncologist said since I'm going weekly for Taxol and every 2nd week adding Avastin- I can get a chest port that can get wet - a button port.  Pros and cons? Thanks. 


  • Strongwoman
      I can weigh in on this as I had one. First, what do you know about them?
    When I had mine I, personally felt that I wasn't as nauseous with my chemo treatments.  Yes, you can shower etc with a port after it has undergone its healing from having it inserted initially. I used a numbing cream that I applied prior to my chemo that helped when they accessed the port.  I had mine removed after I was finished my chemo but they can stay in for years as long as they get flushed monthly if you are receiving no treatment (chemo). 
    For me, my only con was after I went back to work, it shifted on me and was uncomfortable. If I didn't return to work so early it would have been fine and I probably would have left it in
    I hope that helps.
    Given the choice I would opt for the port and not a pic line but that is my view/opinion on it.
  • Thanks this is helpful.  So it hurts when they use the port for the chemo?  Do you numb it yourself or do the nurses numb it (what did you use for numbing)? I thought the port would eliminate the ouch from them poking around for a good vein each week.  Some got it first time others stabbed me 3 times before getting the needle in a vein.  Week after week it grinds me down.   But is the port better for pain?
  • Strongwoman
      There is a cream you can get to do that before you go.  I would say it stings but doesn't hurt like it does when they poke around for a vein. I was like you and my veins would collapse on them.
      I preferred the port definitely over trying to access a vein.
  • Great, thanks.  I will probably go for it. 
  • Fearless_Moderator
    @BellaDonna1959 I'm into year 3 with my port and if I could I'd kiss it every night having put up with three previous years getting "stuck" as they searched for a spot to insert an IV.   I'll only speak to the process at my cancer centre, since there's always something different from region to region and definitely province to province but the insert was so easy.  I was nervous at the thought of them inserting the port while awake but they gave me a "cocktail" to calm my nerves. lots of freezing of the area and when over all I could say, that was fast and painless. 

    Many procedures can be administered using the port too. I get all my treatments using it.  All my blood work is done using the port as well. Some things still require an IV though....CT if they're injecting dye here has to be done through IV although someone told me in BC the type of port they use allows for more functions. 

    I do find it surprising how many women mention using the numbing cream. I don't find inserting the needle into the port painful at all.  Just a wee prick at the most.  So I don't use any. But if that ends up your preference you just dab a bit on about an hour before it's to be accessed.  

    As Strongwoman mentioned the port has be flushed monthly but each time it's used it's flushed as part of the process so if you're going for treatment or bloodwork monthly it's not something to be concerned about.  Other the hospital will make arrangements for you based on their practice there.  Flushing is not a big deal. The nurse just accesses the port and injects some saline and the solution to prevent clotting. .  Since I knew I would have continual recurrences I was grateful there was a process to leave the port in me each time treatment ended. 

    The other huge advantage I experienced with the port was the smoothness each infusion went.  Gemcitabine, one of th chemos I've had twice now is notorious for creating a burning sensation in the veins when infused.  Not only does is burn, they then have to slow down the infusion to stop that issue so treatment took longer.  Using the port eliminated both problems. 

    I would recommend the port to anyone considering it.  You can sleep in any position you want, get it wet and basically do anything you normally would do.   
  • Thank you @Strongwoman and @Fearless - Vol Mod for your feedback (and @BellaDonna1959 for asking). Before joining this blog, I did not know that such a thing (port for getting chemo treatments, drawing blood, etc) even existed. I had an IP port for my first chemo treatment though.. Although I feel I should know better - I had 3 cycles (6 each) of chemo and had to endure too many pokes as veins were not behaving… None of my doctors mentioned this option.. So thank you again. I will definitely go for it when the time comes.