How a Portacath is used for Chemotherapy Treatment

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Oncologist Dr. Stephen Lemon from Oncology Associates in Omaha, Nebraska explains how a port-a-cath is used for cancer treatment during chemotherapy. Visit to watch more videos on cancer treatment.

Medical Minute cancer information videos are produced by Dr. Stephen J. Lemon, who is a medical oncologist who now works with the Overlake Cancer Center in Bellevue, WA. These videos were produced to provide useful cancer information to cancer patients and survivors..

Oncology Associates provides a full range of personalized cancer care at two Omaha clinics as well as at cancer treatment clinics throughout Nebraska.

The physicians of Oncology Associates include:

* Irina E. Popa, MD

To learn more about OA’s approach to personalized cancer treatment as well as about the oncologists and staff, please visit

Video Transcript:
Using a portacath during chemotherapy – Dr. Stephen Lemon

Portacaths, or ports, are vascular access devices used for the treatment of chemotherapy that is given intravenously.

Portacaths sit under the skin and the catheter goes into a large vein. This helps in the chemotherapy administration, and can also be used to draw blood for blood counts and blood tests. This is also a safe way to give chemotherapy, with less chance of the chemotherapy leaking out of the vein and causing damage to skin or other tissues.

The portacath, shown here, is accessed with a needle that goes through the skin and into the portacath chamber. So blood fills the chamber, and can be withdrawn through the needle to have blood tests done before chemotherapy. And then at the time of chemotherapy treatment the chemo drug is given through the needle into the chamber, and then into the vein through the catheter.

At the completion of your chemotherapy treatment the needle will be removed from the port and from the skin so that when you go home there isn’t any needle or any catheters or anything that requires care. Simply keep the skin clean and dry.

Once a patient’s cancer treatment is completed and they no longer require chemotherapy, the portacath can be removed as a simple outpatient procedure. Sometimes your doctor may ask you to keep the portacath in for a little bit longer in case of additional blood draws or possible additional treatment.

If a portacath is going to be maintained after the completion of cancer treatment it needs to be flushed once a month to prevent blood clots from forming in the catheter.

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fatima grera says:

Can I use it to administer Iv fluids?
If I couldn't find peripheral access

Peterson Homework says:

lol i've had one for 4 years and we flush it every other month

Pedro Becerra says:

Mine was put in while awake smh it hurt cause my heart could stop and I only had lidocaine but didn't work. Stage 3 cancer I hope to beat in December and can't wait for this to be out

Johnny Harris says:

Got my PowerPort removed on May 31,2017!!! In remission from Non Hodgkin's lymphoma. Healing now from the removal pretty well except itchy sutures but I'll be ok with that!!

TMC says:

My daughter had this one put in for her 2nd port! The first one had stopped up and had to be replaced after 6 months!Then had this one for a couple of months and a nurse went to access it an didn't know what she was doing and some how FLIPPED THE PORT OVER UNDER THE SKIN!!! And never an apology!! All this was to a 4 year old with acquit limpostetic leukemia =A.L.L!!

soneelita says:

It was nice to see the Nurse wearing gloves with a wrist watch on at the same time !

Scott Hertzog says:

@Goo Zoo, probably the same reason people talk about making a 'xerox' when they're actually using another brand of copy machine 😉

Alexiaz says:

Mine gets removed next year my cancer was Hodgkin's lymphoma stage 3 and I had to do 4 cycles for the last 6 months. It started in May it gets removed in May of next year

gabymarki says:

I had mine put in two days ago under General anesthesia and then sent home same day. The first day I had so much pain. I had a lot of nausea and vomit, probably from the anesthesia, second day was not bad, today hardly any pain.

Goo Zoo says:

Why do you call it a Port-A-Cath (Smiths Medical) and then show a picture of a PowerPort (Bard Medical)?

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