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You have a lot of decisions to make before you begin cancer treatment, like whether you want to have a central venous catheter (CVC) to help make treatment easier.
Your doctor may recommend you have a CVC inserted to make chemotherapy more comfortable. A CVC, also called a port or PICC line, can reduce the discomfort of multiple needle pricks, and provide you the ability to:
The type of CVC you need can depend on:
There are many different types of catheters that your doctor may recommend. One of the most commonly-used kinds is an implanted port. A port is a flexible tube that is placed into a vein, in your chest.
A port is usually made up of metal or plastic and is inserted during outpatient surgery. It sits just under the skin and connects to a catheter that reaches a large vein.
When you need IV fluids or medication, your nurse will use the access point on your port to send fluids or medication directly to your bloodstream. Without a port, a needle must be placed each time you need treatment or require fluids or medication.
The most common complication of a port is an infection. If a port becomes infected, it will often need to be removed and replaced.
Your oncologist can help you determine if a CVC is right for you, and help you manage your port if you get one.
Explore cancer services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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