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Staff at Cancer Centre London use a variety of different methods of chemotherapy delivery, one of which is a portacath. This is an implantable port device positioned completely under the skin, inserted into the subclavian artery to allow drugs to be placed straight into the blood stream without injecting the patient directly. The portacath is ideal for patients who may require regular drug administration, such as those undergoing long regimens of chemotherapy.
The portacath is inserted under general anaesthetic in the operating theatre. The portacath, which is the delivery site, is placed in the chest, and tubing is run from the port to the subclavian artery in the neck. The portacath is not only a method of chemotherapy delivery, but can also be used to give the patient hydration fluids, and to take blood, while minimising the need for repeated needle sticks, as a portacath requires only one needle being inserted into the middle of the circumference of the portacath.
Because the portacath is positioned completely under the skin, once the insertion site has healed, the patient will be able to shower, swim, and bathe as usual.