Central lines and cancer treatment

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You may have a central line as part of your cancer treatment. Learn about how to cope if you are self-conscious about your central line.

Key points

  • Central lines generally mean fewer needle pokes and more efficient treatment.
  • If you are asked questions about your central line, you can answer honestly and explain what it is for, or if you don't feel like talking about it you can say that too.

Some people feel self-conscious when they have a central line, but most people get used to it after a little while. Even though you know that central lines generally mean fewer needle pokes and more efficient treatment, you may still wish it wasn’t there sometimes.

Your line can be more or less visible depending on where it is placed and what kind it is. Central lines can be kind of tricky when you need to change in a locker room, for instance for gym class or dance or sports practice. If you feel uncomfortable, try talking to your teacher to see if they can arrange a place for you to change in private. Wearing loose or patterned shirts can help hide a central line.

If someone asks you a question about your central line, advice from other teens is to just answer honestly. For example "This is my central line. I get medication through it into my blood and it will be taken out when I finish my treatment. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not really a big deal."

Of course, if you don’t feel like talking about it, you can say that too. What you reveal to others is up to you.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019