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 bowel cancer

Coping with cancer can be difficult. You might need emotional, practical and financial support. There is support available from your hospital team. 

Coping with a stoma

You might have a colostomy or ileostomy after surgery for bowel cancer. The end of your bowel is brought out into an opening on your tummy. The opening is called a stoma or ostomy. 

Your sex life and bowel cancer

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

Eating and bowel cancer

You might need to look at what you eat and make changes to your diet after treatment for bowel cancer. You may need to experiment a bit to find out which foods upset your system. A dietitian can support you with diet problems from diagnosis, through treatment and afterwards.

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 for bowel cancer

There are many organisations, support groups, books, videos and other resources to help you cope with bowel cancer and the 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: 
17 Mar 2022
Next review due: 
17 Mar 2025
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