NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

  • Resize font
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,798 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

port-a-cath
(port-uh-cath)
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called port.

EnlargePort-a-cath (Port); drawing showing a port-a-cath under the skin in the right side of the chest. It is attached to a catheter that is threaded into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. The top left inset shows the port-a-cath under the skin. The bottom right inset shows a needle being inserted into the port-a-cath and blood being drawn from it.

Port-a-cath (Port). A port-a-cath is a device placed under the skin in the right side of the chest. It is attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is threaded into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A port-a-cath is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and other drugs. It is also used for taking blood samples. A port-a-cath may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks.