Doctors insert devices called chemo ports or portacaths under the skin.
They could remain there for ranging from a few weeks to a few years.
dependable source As a result, the patient will carry out all of their daily tasks—including sleeping—while still having a chemotherapy port inside of them.
People may feel some pain, irritability, or discomfort when chemo ports are first inserted by doctors, which may temporarily impair sleep.
Those who sleep on their fronts could also run into some issues.
The port may experience unnecessary pressure if you lie on your stomach, which will only make you feel worse.
✅ Chemo ports can make it simpler for medical providers to administer treatments or carry out blood tests while lowering the need for multiple injections.
✅ They could interfere with a person’s sleep because of the discomfort they can cause after placement.
✅ By modifying their sleeping position, their mattress, or their pillows, as well as by donning soft, baggy pajamas, people may frequently combat this.
✅ If a person is not used to sleeping on their back or side, body pillows may help make it more comfortable.
✅ If a chemotherapy port is causing a lot of pain, discomfort, or trouble sleeping, it’s crucial to consult a doctor.
However, a person should find sleeping with a chemo port easier once the skin heals and they have had time to get used to a new sleeping position. It is important to note that, in addition to having a chemo port, patients with cancer can have sleep problems for other reasons.
According to an older 2012 study, 20–87% of cancer patients report sleep disturbances.
These interruptions may be brought on by a variety of factors, such as the chemotherapy itself, which can have a negative effect on sleep, other symptoms brought on by the chemotherapy, the impact of cancer and cancer treatment on mental health, and adjustments to daily routines like sleeping in late or taking frequent naps to deal with fatigue.
How to sleep with a chemotherapy port
While the skin around their chemotherapy port heals, there are numerous things people can do to make sleeping more comfortable.
Alter your sleeping position
No sleeping position is inherently dangerous for chemo ports, however, there are hazards associated with positions that could cause the port to twist or migrate beneath the skin.
For those who have a chemotherapy port, lying on the back is the best sleeping position because there will be less pressure or friction on the port. An individual who is accustomed to sleeping on their front can discover that a body pillow makes switching to another sleeping position easier.
Even if it’s still possible, side sleepers should strive to avoid the side of their chest where the port is located. On the right side of the chest, doctors commonly place chemo ports.
Wear comfortable clothes
The greatest clothes to wear while sleeping is comfortable, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that won’t itch or irritate the skin.
A chemo port may get irritated by pajamas, for instance, that have buttons, poppers, or other similar elements down the middle.
If a patient develops a fever or night sweats as a result of their chemotherapy, wearing breathable pajamas made of natural fibers may also be beneficial.
Think about getting a new mattress.
A new mattress could be worthwhile to investigate, if at all possible. When sleeping, someone who has a sagging or uncomfortable mattress may shift toward the middle of the bed or toss and turn in an effort to find a comfortable position. If the mattress is too soft, sleeping on the back may be more challenging.
Use pillows that are more supportive.
Additionally, it’s crucial that persons with chemotherapy ports receive the appropriate amount of pillow support. Tossing and turning can rub the port, which can be lessened with a comfy pillow.
The ideal head, neck, and shoulder support from a sleeping pillow is provided. It may also be beneficial to use larger pillows for body support, particularly if one is transitioning to a new sleeping position or moves around a lot while they are asleep.
How to lay on your side as you sleep
Although sleeping on one’s side is an option, it is recommended for those with chemotherapy ports to do so. Once their chemo port is installed, side sleepers must take a few things into account.
After the operation, the skin will be sensitive and possibly painful. Avoiding unnecessary pressure or contact is advised. As a result, a person must sleep on their back until the injury has healed.
Even after the skin has healed, applying pressure on the area is not advised since it may irritate or inflame the skin. People can use body pillows to support themselves while sleeping on their side and prevent rolling onto their front.
They can also try placing a pillow between their knees. Large pillows can be positioned on one side of the bed to deter people from sleeping with their chemo port on that side of the body.
What to do if the chemotherapy port hurts
It is typical to feel some discomfort following the chemo port insertion. A person will probably feel some soreness, edema, and inflammation. It’s also possible to have bruises, which can take longer to heal.
During the first two days following the treatment, it’s crucial to stay away from any clothing or objects that put pressure or friction over the chest. Examples include strapless or cross-body purses and tight clothes such as bras or suspenders.
Before the incision has had time to heal, which takes about a week, people should also refrain from lifting anything heavy or engaging in intense activity. A doctor can provide guidance on when it’s safe to resume exercise.
People can use pillows or padding to soften uncomfortable straps and tight clothing, such as seatbelts, that must be avoided.
When should I talk to my doctor about my discomfort
For people who have chemotherapy ports, some moderate discomfort is typical. However, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away if a person experiences any of the following symptoms:
- a high temperature or a fever
- Starting to look pale or experience some swelling after the treatment
- unusual intense pain that you’ve never had before
- signs of infection around the port site
- Pains in your chest
- If you start becoming short of breath
- the port doesn’t stop bleeding
Since chemotherapy impairs the immune system, it’s critical to take action right away if an infection starts to manifest.
Additionally, chemo ports require routine cleaning. Before giving the next dose of medication during each chemotherapy session, a medical expert should flush out the port lines. Ask for chemo port cleaning at a nearby hospital if it has been more than a month since the last treatment to avoid issues.