Mesothelioma caregiver Debbie Clemmons describes in her book about her late husband Randy Brady, how he was like “a pincushion” before he decided to get a mesothelioma treatment port implanted. A port, a small device inserted under the skin usually in the upper chest, arm or abdomen, gives health care providers easy access to your veins for chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and blood tests. You can read more about decisions regarding mesothelioma treatment ports here.
Because ports are completely under the skin, they do not require extensive care. Ask a member of your health care team for specific instructions about how to care for the area around the port after it is inserted and follow these instructions until it heals. You may also need to use fluid to flush out the port so it does not get blocked.
Potential risks may include infections, blockages or clots, and other problems that are less common, such as kinks under the skin or displacement (a shift in the position of the port).
At Mesothelioma Circle, we reviewed information from pharmaceutical companies that make ports and leading hospitals to find the best information we could for you on how to take care of your mesothelioma treatment port.
Basic Care for Mesothelioma Treatment Ports:
- Clean the skin around your port every day. Ask your caregiver what to use to clean your skin.
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Clean your hands before you clean the skin around your port. Remind everyone who comes into contact with your port to wash their hands.
- The port will need to be flushed after every use and every four weeks when not in use to prevent blood clots from forming inside the catheter.
- Check your skin for infection every day. Look for redness, swelling, or fluid oozing from the port site.
Contact your doctor immediately if:
- The area around the catheter or port becomes red, swollen, painful, bruised, or warm
- There is excess bleeding from the insertion area
- You develop a fever
- Any fluid leaks
- You have shortness of breath or dizziness
- The port cannot be flushed out with liquid; it seems blocked. Fluid should never be forced into the catheter