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Colostomy Is Not Always Necessary to Treat Colon Cancer

If A Colostomy Is Needed, It Might Only Be Temporary


Updated March 08, 2014


A colostomy means that an external bag must be worn on the abdomen to collect waste.

Photo © A.D.A.M.

Some people mistakenly believe that surgery to treat colon cancer always require the creation of a colostomy (the connection of the colon to the skin of the abdomen, allowing for a diversion of stool into an external container or bag. In actuality, a permanent colostomy is usually only necessary when cancer involves the lowest portion of the rectum (closest to the anus). A temporary colostomy (which is then reversed in a few months) may sometimes be used to allow the bowel to heal after surgery to treat colon cancer.


American Cancer Society. "How Is Colorectal Cancer Treated?" American Cancer Society, Inc. 15 Aug 2013. 7 Mar 2014.

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