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Learn more about how oncology social workers can help you cope with a cancer diagnosis.

Case management

Resource Navigation

Learn more about how CancerCare Resource Navigation can help you address barriers to care.



Read or order our free Connect booklets and fact sheets offering easy-to-read information about the latest cancer treatments, managing side effects and coping with cancer.

For Colorectal Cancer
Financial assistance

Financial Assistance

Limited assistance from CancerCare is available to help with cancer-related costs.

Ask CancerCare

Ask CancerCare

Every month, featured experts answer your questions about coping with cancer including specific answers to questions asked by caregivers.

For Colorectal Cancer
  • Q.

    I was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and will have surgery and then a colostomy. I'm grateful that surgery is an option, but I'm struggling with the idea of having a colostomy. Any advice?


    Adjusting to a cancer diagnosis can be challenging enough; adjusting to physical challenges that might come with it can seem overwhelming. It’s completely normal to wonder how you will manage. Seeking out information and support will help you to understand what to expect and how to best cope with change.

    If cancer is detected in your colon or rectum, a colostomy is performed. A colostomy surgically creates a “stoma” or small opening in the lower abdomen through which stool can exit the body. Usually, the waste is captured in a small bag that is worn on the body and can be easily disposed of. While this procedure will have an obvious impact on your daily routines, keep in mind that you will still be able to do all the things you enjoy, including physical activities such as sports or gardening, and continue to live a full life with a colostomy.

    To understand the impact a colostomy will have on you, talk with your doctors prior to your surgery about what you should expect before and after the procedure. It is also helpful to know the types of assistance and support available to you after your surgery. Ask to see an enterostomal therapy (ET) nurse, who specializes in ostomy care and rehabilitation.

    Speaking with an oncology social worker or joining a support group where you can discuss your concerns and learn how others have coped and adjusted can be very useful. Connecting with others who have “been there” can be incredibly supportive and informative.

    You can find additional information and support through The United Ostomy Association of America, which provides guidebooks, reference cards and brochures, as well as a message board where patients and caregivers can exchange information and answer questions. You can also find a local or virtual support group.

    Remember that with any change comes loss. Give yourself time to adjust as you move into this next stage of your life.

  • Q.

    Where can I get free or low-cost colostomy supplies? I'm having a hard time paying my bills. Is there a place where I can call and talk with someone else who has a colostomy?


    Adjusting to an ostomy can be difficult at first. With time, however, most people find them easy to manage and pain-free. Most hospitals have ostomy nurses who help with learning the steps needed to fit the appliance properly. These nurses may also be able to connect you with local resources for supplies.

    Here are some resources that might be able to help:

    The United Ostomy Association of America can also connect you with peer-to-peer support as well.

    Hopefully, these organizations will help with the cost of these needed supplies.

Specialized programs

Specialized Programs

CancerCare offers specialized programs to address specific populations and concerns.

Community programs

Community Programs

Learn about and view the full calendar of our free community programs.


Coping Circle Workshops

Virtual educational and supportive workshops led by oncology social workers and qualified co-facilitators. These workshops cover numerous topics and are offered in English and Spanish.

Additional Resources


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