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"A port scar on the anterior chest wall was not a major concern for the majority of this cohort. A minority of participants were highly impacted by the scar and its location" Connolly et al (2022).

Impact of implantable port chest scars

Abstract:

Background: In children with cancer, port-a-caths (ports) are commonly placed in the right anterior chest wall, leaving a visible scar when removed. The psychological impact of port scars on survivors is unknown. It is unclear whether alternative sites should be considered. We assessed the impact of port scars on pediatric cancer survivors to determine whether a change in location is indicated.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional single-center study of pediatric cancer survivors aged 13-18 years. A questionnaire explored participants’ perceptions of their port scars. Four additional validated tools were used: Fitzpatrick scale, Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS), Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index, and a Distress Thermometer.

Results: Among 100 participants (median age 15.8 years [13-18], median duration since treatment 8 years [1.5-14.8]), 75 ‘never/occasionally’ thought about their port scars, 85 were not bothered by its location and 87 would not have preferred another site. Eleven participants were highly impacted by their scars: six thought about their scar ‘everyday/all the time’, four were highly bothered by its location, and nine would have preferred a different location. There was an association between the desire for different scar location and how much the location bothered participants (p < 0.0001), female sex (p = 0.03) and Patient POSAS score (p = 0.04).

Conclusion: A port scar on the anterior chest wall was not a major concern for the majority of this cohort. A minority of participants were highly impacted by the scar and its location. Advance identification of those likely to be impacted by their scars may not be possible.


Reference:

Connolly BL, Amirabadi A, Goman S, Aloia AA, Fish J, Alexander N, Nathan PC. Exploring the impact of anterior chest wall scars from implantable venous ports in adolescent survivors of cancer. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2022 Jul 7:e29832. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29832. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35796091.