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Chemotherapy Port  

Chemotherapy is a commonly used type of treatment designed to identify, fight and destroy cancer cells.  The advantage to this type of treatment is that it has the ability to find and destroy cancer cells which might otherwise be unable to be treated with other methods.  It can also be useful as a way to eliminate or help to control the growth of cancer in more advanced stages.  The drugs used are normally administered by external means either orally or intravenously.  We will discuss a device called a chemotherapy port which administers the drugs automatically in a prescribed manner designed to maximize the benefits which minimizing the side effects. 


The chemotherapy port is a tiny device which administers anti-cancer drugs directly into the bloodstream.  It avoids the pain and possible complications of having to insert needles or intravenous lines into the patient multiple times. 


There are two main types of chemotherapy ports.  The central venous port is used for most types of cancer and the intraperitoneal port is used to treat ovarian and gastrointestinal cancers.  The chemotherapy port is normally installed surgically below the surface of the skin near the collarbone or abdomen.  It pumps the drugs through a catheter which is directly connected to a vein for distribution throughout the bloodstream. 


The chemotherapy procedure can then be started.  The dosage and frequency of drug administration will depend on many factors.  However it is designed to enable multiple dosages of anti-drugs to be administered over a prescribed schedule without the patient having to return for multiple visits for therapy. 


There are some common side effects which tend to occur with any kind of chemotherapy treatment.  Since the drugs used can also affect some healthy cells, typical side effects can include the hair falling out, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and pain.  However once the therapy is concluded these side effects usually go away. 


Once the sessions have concluded, the chemotherapy port is removed.  The patient is usually given a local anesthetic and then surgically removes the device.  Along with the benefits this form of drug administration can provide, there can be some complications such as:

  • A risk of infection at the incision site.  This is often caused by a weakened immune system.  The skin may also suffer some damage due to the incision.  There may be some fever along with pain and swelling at the incision site. 
  • The chemotherapy port may become dislodged or moved if the patient does strenuous exercise which it is in place.  It may cause damage to the device which could then require replacement. 
  • There may be blood clots which form at the area where the catheter enters the vein.  It may cause blockage and prevent proper flow of the drugs into the body. 

Most of these complications are fairly minor and mild.  And the benefits gained through a controlled dosage plan can more than offset the possible complications.  Given its success in helping to maximize the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment used, its benefits should far outweigh the disadvantages.