What is a port?
A port is a tiny medical appliance that is placed under the skin to give cancer patients and other chronically ill people the treatment they need. Ports are used to give blood, chemotherapy, fluids and other medications. A catheter inside the body connects the port to the heart so it can distribute medication through that body at fast rates. There is no catheter on the outside of the body, unlike central or PICC lines, you can see a little bump under the chest where the port is. Because cancer patients constantly need these medications, sometimes several times a week, a port saves a lot of IV pokes. Chemotherapy also damages tissue if it’s not extactly placed right in the vein. Smaller veins in your hands or forearm are too much of a risk to inject chemo into. Because ports are placed under the skin, doctors and nurses have to access it with a huge needle. The needle is connected to chemo, IV treatments, medication or a blood. The medication is injected or slowly dropped through the IV bag into the port. The port takes the medication and it travels down the catheter like a long tube. The catheter is ran through major veins until it reaches the Superior vena cava, a major vein near your heart. Then your heart pumps the chemotherapy or medication all throughout your body very quickly.
The port needle is then secured with a Tegaderm. Getting your port accessed can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes nurses will offer numbing cream before accessing it. Regardless, every port site is heavily cleaned with alcohol swabs before access to prevent infections. Ports aren’t always placed in the chest but that’s the most common place. They can also be placed under your chest on even on your head! Ports stay in until end of treatment or last chemo. Ports can be very uncomfortable and can be in anywhere from a few months to a year. Though they aren’t exactly comfortable or fun, they save millions of lives, including the lives of children with cancer so they can get their life saving treatments.
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Hello everyone! It’s Lindsey Pacios, the Founder and President of Team Cure. I started this blog to post some of my favorite articles I have written originally on Instagram onto our website! We also have some unique content on here you can’t find on our social media accounts. I hope you learn and get something out of this blog! Remember to go gold and share the facts about childhood cancer. Awareness leads to funding and that leads to a cure.
- Lindsey Pacios
Founder and President of Team Cure