Port vs PICC line: What's the best option for 90 year old mother?

Posted by kogelerk55 @kogelerk55, Jan 5 9:17am

My mother was dx with rectal cancer. Treatment will be 25-30 days of radiation and chemo. She is a young 90 yr old and I’m not sure a port is the best option?

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Welcome @kogelerk55.
Allow me to bring in fellow members like @grandpabob @ocpand @mepowers @readingteacher @nancy61 to share their port vs PICC experiences.

As you likely know, a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) or a port are both central lines used to make it easier to put medication, blood products, nutrients, or fluids directly into your bloodstream. A central line can also make it easier to take blood samples for testing. When recommending which type to get, you should discuss with her oncologist:
– How long she’ll need chemotherapy. This is because a port can stay in for longer (years) and a PICC typically for weeks or months.
– How long it takes to inject the chemotherapy doses
– How many drugs she’ll receive at once
– Whether she has any other medical problems like blood clots or swelling

Has her oncologist suggested one over the other for your mom? How long will she be on chemo?


I never had a PICC line only a dual lumen port. I very much liked my port for a variety of reasons. I had to be in the hospital when I received chemo for 4 days at a time. Hospitals love to do labs. It was so much better than getting poked twice a day. All medication went through there besides the chemo. I kept my port in for a few years after my treatment. I had regular labs and MRI with contrast frequently, so I kept it until I was down to twice a year. All and all, it made life easier during a difficult period of time.


Hello kogelerk55 @kogelerk55, I had a PICC line for about 6 months, and a dual lumen line for about 3 months. The chemo drugs are very harsh, I had two infusions direct into the veins which caused damage before I had a line placed. In hind sight, I wish I would have had the line placed before treatment. My personal preference was the PICC as it seemed easier to manage while taking a shower as it was much less bulky than the dual line, I feel it was equal to the dual line for blood draws. Saying that, the dual line was much better for administering medications in conjunction with the chemo. The frequency to have them cleaned and maintained was about the same. The the PICC exited my inner upper arm (the dual line my neck) so was more prone to getting pulled out inadvertently which I had to be careful of. The dual line was a bit more invasive to have placed but neither one was concerning. As Colleen stated, it would be a good idea to discuss this with the Oncologist if you have not done so.

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