Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer


What our members think about having a portacath fitted.

I had a portacath put in on my second cycle of chemo back in 2006. I went in and had it done under conscious sedation as a daycase. No problems with the procedure itself - a 2cm incision on the upper chest for the actual portacath valve and another 2cm incision on the neckline crease which is where they thread the tubing down into the vein. Only minimal discomfort and bruising afterwards. I did however have a small infection in the chest wound which made the scar heal a little more prominently than I would like. SO much better for my chemos afterwards and also they take blood from it as well.

I still have the original portacath in place and it still works fine. Its seen me through my original chemo, all my herceptins, constant blood tests (every three weeks when they flush it as well) and is now coping with my 5th type of chemo. I'm told they last for up to 10 years or more and I've never regretted having it.


I have a port of the new power ports that can take everything..even the contrast dye for a CT's fab!!

The only good thing about having this crappy disease is my port...I love it!


I'm in love with my Portacath. Whoever invented it deserves a major prize. I can swim, shower, bathe, do anything I want.

I live in France and they've taken note of recent recent research that says they don't need flushing at all, so when not in use (I've had mine in for 22 months now), I'm free as air. Makes them even more cost effective, too!

I think you'll be pleased you've got one. It saves so much time (and therefore money, don't forget) for everyone - you, the nurses and the patients who come after you that day! The risk of infection is small.

Mine was fitted at the same as surgery under general anaesthetic to remove a cancerous lymph node (so I can't tell you anything about my experience of the procedure, I'm afraid). I do feel this is the way to go, if appropriate (again saving time and money); instead of fitting them reactively in repsonse to a problem, they should be fitted to make sure there never is one. Of course, it should also be possible to 'opt-out' with patients having the opportunity to refuse one if they are not comfortable with the idea. This is what happens here and in fact, the only people you see in my chemo ward without a Portacath are non-French residents who are being reciprocally treated whilst in France.

I was warned that they could set off airport security machines when you walk through them. I've taken three flights with mine and it's happened just the once. They give you a card to carry to show anyone who needs to know.


At the Marsden they have a new design of needle now which makes it easier for the nurses to 'get a grip' on it.

Like many others I would say this is the best thing I could have done. It makes life so much easier and I have no discomfort or pain when they put the needle in or remove it.

Some hospitals do the procedure under a local but the Marsden only with a general anaesthetic. I think surgeons favour different positions for placing the port because some ladies dont like the 'bump' to be visible but if you have any say in the long term it is better with a firm base behind it because if it is placed in quite soft tissue it is much harder for the nurses to access. Mine is quite high up - just about an inch below the collarbone. The nurses tell me mine is one of their favourites and sometimes ask if nurses training to use them can do mine.


I had a portacath for over three years. They even used it to give me blood transfusions but mine didn't work extremely well so they had to use a kind of pump with it. It was definitely better than searching for veins though. The most difficult was having it removed because it had got embedded into the surrounding tissue and they really had to prise it out. I still have a small dent in my chest lol.