Impact of port site scar on perception of patients with breast cancer: patient-reported outcomes.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Breast cancer research and treatment


Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Breast Neoplasms; Cicatrix; Female; Humans; Middle Aged; Patient Reported Outcome Measures; Patient Satisfaction; Perception; Retrospective Studies; Surveys and Questionnaires


PURPOSE: As the number of survivors continues to increase with improvements in breast cancer treatment, greater emphasis has been placed on the aesthetic outcome following breast surgery. Effort is made to minimize scarring on the breast, yet patients who require a port for treatment inevitably have a scar on the upper chest from the port itself. We hypothesized that patients with breast cancer are conscious of their port scars, and if given a choice would prefer placement of the port in the arm rather than the chest.

METHODS: Female breast cancer patients treated at our Breast Center who had a port placed from 2009 to 2015 were asked to complete a 20-question, anonymous survey via SurveyMonkey® reporting demographics and treatment information, and a validated Patient Scar Assessment Questionnaire (PSAQ).

RESULTS: Of 139 identified, 105 had email information available for contact, and 67 (64%) patients responded. Of the 67, 37 (55%) had undergone arm placement and 30 (45%), chest. Sixty (92%) patients report noticing their scars; 44 (69%) believed that their scar was noticeable to others; and 22 of the 44 (50%) made an effort to hide their scar. Thirty-seven patients were offered options for port site placement, and 24 (65%) chose placement in the arm (p = 0.057).

CONCLUSION: Most patients are conscious of their port scars and if offered the choice choose placement in the arm rather than the chest. Upper extremity port placement should be further explored as an alternative approach for patients with breast cancer to improve port scar consciousness.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children