Living with a colostomy or urostomy | Cancer Research UK
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Living with a colostomy or urostomy

Women discussing vaginal cancer

This page is about living with a colostomy or urostomy after surgery for vaginal cancer. 

If your vaginal cancer spreads to parts of your bowel or bladder, you may need surgery to remove part or all of these organs. If you have a cancer of the lower vagina, your surgeon may need to remove the tube that runs from your bladder to the outside of your body (the urethra). You may need to have this done even if your bladder is not affected by the cancer.

After this type of operation, you often need to wear a bag to collect your urine or stools (faeces). Colostomy bags collect stools and urostomy bags collect urine. This type of surgery can be quite a shock and will involve some big life changes for you.

There is detailed information about the surgery involved in having a urostomy and having a colostomy in the section about surgery for vaginal cancer.

For information about having a permanent colostomy, see the page about if you need a colostomy in the bowel cancer section.

In the section about living with bladder cancer, there is information about living with a urostomy and coping after bladder surgery.

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Updated: 29 September 2015