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What's that?

Note to Parents:

Children naturally look to their parents to support and guide them through stressful times. This is especially true when a child faces a new medical treatment. This book is designed to help children understand the need for a venous access port (port-a-cath).

The “port” is a small metal chamber with a soft top cover. It is placed under the skin on your child’s chest. The port connects to a long, thin flexible tube that goes into a large vein just above the heart. It allows doctors and nurses to take blood tests and give intravenous fluids and medications.

Port-a-caths make tests and treatments easier for your child. Because the catheter is in a large vein, IV medications won’t irritate or damage the veins, like they could in smaller arm veins. Port-a-caths also mean fewer needles for your child.

This book will help the most if you read it with your child. While reading about another child’s experiences with her port, your child will learn about the port’s uses and benefits. After reading the story, encourage your child to talk about her own feelings and experiences too. By being open, honest and keeping a positive attitude, you can help your child cope well with a port. Download the Port-a-Cath book in pdf format.


We would like to thank Kelly, Dr. Halton and Brenda for agreeing to be our models. A very special thanks to Kimberly Oswick’s family whose generous donation made the design and development of this booklet version of this information possible, and to the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation for publishing and making the booklet version available nationally. The photography of the CHEO Bear and the Port-a-Cath is compliments of Nadine Lamoureux from Barnyard Studio.

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