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Chemotherapy Port

Chemotherapy Port

A chemotherapy port is a tiny device that is used to administer chemotherapy drugs into the body. Through this article we take a look at what is a chemotherapy port and how it is used...
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
One of the most dreaded diseases known to man is cancer which unfortunately has no permanent cure as of now. There are many researches going on to find out a cure for this deadly disease. Cancer occurs when certain cells in the body begin to multiply at breakneck pace, in an unhealthy manner, and metastasize to other parts of the body, thus affecting them also. When these cancerous cells spread to other healthy organs, it stalls their functioning and leads to their collapse. If all the organs fail, it can be life-threatening and an early death becomes inevitable.
However, to reduce the severity of this disease and prolong the life expectancy of the cancer patient, researchers have discovered certain drugs and therapies as a means of cancer treatment. A popular way to treating cancer is through chemotherapy, which employs drugs and medication to destroy the cancerous cells and put a stop to their development. There are a number of ways for administering drugs and medication like oral pills, through injections and even intravenously. The dose and duration of administering this treatment depends on the type of cancer and the health condition of the patient. A recent finding in the field of chemotherapy is the port which is used for the intravenous administration of drugs.
Chemotherapy Port Surgery: How it is Done
As mentioned earlier, chemotherapy is mostly administered intravenously, so that the drugs enter directly into the bloodstream and begin their work. However these drugs can affect the veins and skin and can also be quite a painful experience for the patient, so to avoid this damage and reduce the pain relatively, chemo port has come into existence. The advantage of using the port is that the entire venous system can be connected and is easily accessible for circulation of drugs.
This medical device, which is also known as portacath, is of two types - central venous port sometimes referred to as CV port, used for most types of cancers and intraperitoneal port or IP port, which are used to treat gastrointestinal and ovarian cancer. A chemo port is a small device, made of different materials like titanium, stainless steel or plastic, and is attached with a rubber cover. This port is connected to the vein, with the help of a catheter, through which drugs are transported into the body. The chemo port placement is usually below the layer of epidermis, near the collarbone or the abdominal cavity.
Inserting the port is normally done as an outpatient procedure. This surgery can be performed under general or local anesthesia. A tiny incision is made at the location, where the port has to be inserted. Generally two incisions are made for the insertion of the port. The first incision which is approximately one inch in length, is the place where the port is to be inserted. The second incision, which can be 2 inches long, is made to attach the catheter to the vein, either in the chest or abdominal region. Once both the port and catheter are inserted, the incision site is sutured and covered with surgical dressing. After the procedure, the oncologist may take an X-ray to ensure that the port and catheter are placed properly, before administering treatment.
Chemo Port Complications
Once the cancer has gone into remission and the sessions have concluded, the port is removed from the body. Removal is done with the help of a sedative, where the doctor will remove the port and cover the site with dressing, if it is required. A scar may be formed at the site of the incision. Though inserting the port is beneficial since it simplifies the drug administration process, there can be certain complications related to it.
  • The person may develop an infection at the site of incision, due to a weakened immune system. The skin also suffers from damage due to the presence of infection. An increase in bodily temperature, pain and swelling around the site and loss of equilibrium can be observed in some patients.
  • There is a chance of misalignment or dislodging of the port, while doing strenuous activity. The port may also get damaged or have a leakage, which can be irreparable.
  • In some cases, there is formation of blood clots, which may block the vein hampering the proper flow of medication to the affected part.
There is no proper price list for a chemo port. The cost may differ from one state to another and is based on the drugs used, the duration of therapy and the place where you get the treatment. For exact prices, you can consult the hospital in your locality. There are also certain insurance claims which cover the cost of chemotherapy. For details, you will have to get in touch with your agent, regarding medical claims.
The chemo port is a boon to not only medical science but also to the patient undergoing the therapy. Though undergoing chemotherapy is beneficial to ward off the severity of cancer, the patient must also be aware of the side effects of this therapy, so that necessary steps can be taken to reduce their effect.