NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,812 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.

peripherally inserted central catheter
(peh-RIH-feh-ruh-lee in-SER-ted SEN-trul KA-theh-ter)
A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein near the heart called the vena cava. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks. It is a type of central venous access device. Also called PICC.

EnlargePeripherally inserted central catheter (PICC); drawing of a PICC line that goes from a vein in the upper right arm to a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. An inset shows a PICC line in the arm with a clear plastic dressing over it. An intravenous line attached to the PICC is also shown.

Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC). A PICC is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and other drugs. It is also used for taking blood samples. A PICC line may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks.