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AC chemo through IV?
11 Posts
Hi Lovelies,

I’m through 2 of 4 paclitaxel infusions so far, and following that will be doing 4 AC infusions (dose dense so every two weeks). I’m doing chemo prior to surgery).

My oncologist did not recommend a port for me. He said my veins were really good, there’s a wait list for port surgery and it would just introduce additional complications.

However, when I was talking to the chemo nurse at my last infusion, she was saying a port is better for AC because AC can BURN you and your veins (omg what??!!).

So now I’m anxious about my upcoming AC treatments in October. I would like to know if any of you had AC treatments through IV, rather than a port, and if so, did you experience any scary complications, or was it smooth sailing?

Thanks, gang!
10 Replies
496 Posts

Hi @Jay1979

I don’t get AC infusions, but the oncology team booked me three times for a port, insisting it was necessary. However, I have always been told I have great veins, venipunctures are easy, I don’t have a fear of needles and I know three women who received AC infusions without ports or picc lines and they had no problems. For those reasons, I declined the port.

However, it is highly recommended for AC infusions because of the risk you mentioned. Plus, many patients who have ports say they are glad they have them. If I were receiving AC, I may have chosen differently. Here’s a link to a discussion about ports:

When will you start the AC? Do you still have time to make a decision re: the port?

Wishing you the best possible outcome with your treatments.

11 Posts

Thanks for this!! It helps to know that you know 3 wen who received their AC without a port or picc line.

I start AC mid October so I have to decide soon since there’s about three weeks to a month wait to get one. I’m not crazy about a surgery for a port, even though it’s minor, since my current chemo lowers my WBC, and I know I don’t want a picc line because I’m trying to do some weightlifting to maintain muscle mass during chemo and a picc line would make that impossible. So here I am, port or no port- that is the question!


2126 Posts

Hi @Jay1979

Part of my treatment involved chemotherapy. I had 6 rounds of two drugs, commonly referred to as Carbo-Taxol. The taxol refers to the PACLITAXEL you will get. I did not get a PICC line for the first three rounds. I ended up with useless veins in my left arm as a result, and finally got a PICC line for the last three rounds. The chemo chemicals burned my veins in the left arm (hand arm the whole thing) and now they collapse if you try to get blood or introduce an IV. Now everything has to come out of my right arm, and mostly the hand due to the scarring of repeated use of the go to place.

I understand why you might want a Port vs PICC line, but the PICC line is much easier to have put in, and given what you said about the back up even for this simple surgery, you might consider the PICC line and save your veins. Wish I had.

Keep well and keep moving forward as it sounds like you are!


11 Posts
Jay1979‍ To share my experience...I had the 4 doses of AC, dose dense, first followed by the Taxol. I did not have a port or PICC, nor did the IV infusion burn. The nurses were always able to find a vein for the IV. I did get a slight headache during my first infusion of the AC so they slowed it down for the following cycles. I was happy to not have the port. Good luck to you!
11 Posts

Wow thanks everyone! This is really helping to easy my anxiety!

2 more taxol to go and then my first AC so I’ll be back in about a month to update you on how everything goes!


I had FEC-D for my breast cancer almost 11 years ago. I had all 6 treatments through IV on my right side. I had lymph nodes removed on my left side along with my lumpectomy as my cancer had spread.

For the first year or so, my veins on the right were quite unsightly. But now all these years later, the veins don't cooperate very well when they are trying to draw blood and the left arm can't be used due to the lymph node removal. I definitely can have blood drawn on the right but it is often a struggle. WIth 20/20 hindsight, I may have done a PICC line instead of IV if I was given the choice. Keeping in mind that everyone is different, just thought I would share my experience.

Keep us posted!


18 Posts
My oncologist didn’t want me getting a port due to chance of infection but I did it anyways and was the best thing I did , don’t have bruises all over my arms each treatment . I had red devil rounds, taxol and now have another 11 months of herceptin now that I had double mastectomy , it’s quick snd easy for the nurses to plug you in 😂

It’s hard to even see my port unless I point it out to people when they ask

good Luck !!
83 Posts
Hi Jay1979‍,
I had 4 rounds of dose dense A/C followed by 12 rounds of weekly Taxol. I asked my oncologist about a port but he said I didn’t need one,
even though I’d had some problems in the past finding a good vein. However, I never had any issues with either of the chemos except one day when I had a nurse who had just started on the chemo ward. She had a lot of trouble inserting the needle until we called over a more experienced nurse, who got it right away. I used my left arm most of the time because it was more convenient to have my right arm free and despite the number of infusions, it held up well. I was 70 when I went through chemo last year.

I wish you well with your treatments.

2 Posts

I just started AC through IV and had no issues. The nurse pushed the chemo slowly into my IV over the course of 10 minutes using 4.5 large syringes filled with the red stuff. I didn’t notice anything during injection. I was never offered a port or pic line of any sort but I hear of it frequently in forums and in the info packets they give out about the treatment process. I assumed it was due to nursing shortages (at least here in southern Ontario) because I am constantly being told of alterations in the plan due to lack of nurses.

2126 Posts

Hi @Sandy2000

The link below from the CCS discusses the many benefits of a PICC line or Port.


A simple procedure is done for a PICC line by a surgeon to insert the line in your arm. A port is more involved.

The issues in not having a line offered may well relate to delays etc… But its your treatment and body. My 1st 3 chemo treatments were given in my left arm. The side effects have left me with useless veins in the left arm and hand for blood draw or I.V. insertion. So see how many treatments you are supposed to have and weigh the risks and benefits.

Hope this helps.


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