What Is a Chemotherapy Port?

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Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cancer. A chemotherapy port is a device that is implanted under your skin to help you receive chemotherapy treatments.

Chemotherapy Basics

  • Chemotherapy, also referred to as chemo, is a cancer treatment that uses chemicals to kill fast-growing cells such as cancer cells. However, chemotherapy also kills some healthy cells, which can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, sore mouth and dry skin.

Ways of Receiving Chemotherapy

  • Chemotherapy can be administered in a number of ways, most typically through a pill, a shot or intravenously (using an IV). Intravenous chemotherapy is the most common treatment.

Chemotherapy Ports

  • Intravenous chemotherapy is sometimes given through a port, which is a small plastic, stainless steel or titanium device surgically inserted underneath the skin of the upper arm or chest. The port connects to a large vein and makes chemotherapy doses easier to administer.

Port Insertion

  • Chemotherapy ports are usually inserted while you are awake. However, you may be given sedatives or painkillers. Arrange to have someone else drive you home afterward.

Port Benefits

  • Chemotherapy ports enable painless, long-term IV use but do not require any long-term maintenance. You can also have blood drawn directly from the port.

Warning

  • If you have a port, watch for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, rash or fever.

References

  • Photo Credit Chris Hondros/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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