Living with bowel cancer

Bowel cancer can start in the large bowel (colon cancer) or back passage (rectal cancer). It is also called colorectal cancer. There is support available to help you cope during and after bowel cancer treatment.


Coping with cancer can be difficult. There is help and support available. There are things you can do, people to help and ways to cope with a diagnosis of bowel cancer.

Coping with a stoma

You might have a colostomy or ileostomy after surgery for bowel cancer. Read about how it can affect you and ways to help.

Sex life

Most people are able to have a normal sex life after having bowel cancer. You will need time to get over surgery, or any other treatment.


You may need to change what you are eating after treatment for bowel cancer.

Bowel changes after treatment

Treatment for bowel cancer (colon and rectum) can cause changes to your bowel. These effects can last for a few weeks or months after treatment. Sometimes they might go on for longer.

Resources and organisations

There are many organisations, support groups, books, videos and other resources to help you cope with bowel cancer and treatment. You can also find out about suppliers of stoma appliances.

Jan’s story

Jan’s story about her diagnosis and treatment for bowel cancer.

Last reviewed: 
31 Aug 2018
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer