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What Type of Cancer Requires a Colostomy Bag?

What is Colostomy?

A colostomy is a procedure that makes a pathway through the abdomen for the colon or large intestine. A colostomy can be either temporary or permanent. Usually, it follows bowel surgery or an injury. While many temporary colostomies carry the side of the colon up to an opening in the abdomen, the majority of permanent colostomies are “end colostomies.” In the event that anal cancer surgery is performed, a stoma may result. Your back passage is no longer the path via which your feces exit your body. However, it exits through the stoma. To collect your waste, you wear a bag that is attached to the skin over the stoma.

What is a colostomy bag?

A colostomy bag is a plastic bag that is placed over a stoma in the abdominal wall to collect feces from the digestive tract. Immediately after a colostomy operation, doctors connect a bag to the stoma. A surgeon will remove a section of a patient’s large intestine during a colostomy through the stoma. As the stool travels through the gut, the colostomy bag can then collect it.

Which cancer requires a colostomy?

It is usually necessary during anal cancer, which develops in the anal canal. The stool exits the body through a small tube called the anal canal, which is located at the end of the rectum.

Rectal bleeding and anal pain are two signs and symptoms of anal cancer. While chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common treatments for anal cancer, surgery is also an option. Combining anal cancer therapies increases the likelihood of a successful cure and the risk of adverse effects. 

When do you need a colostomy?

If your anus, rectum, and a portion of your bowel are surgically removed, you will have a permanent colostomy (colon). Abdominoperineal resection is the medical term for this procedure (APR). The stool no longer passes through the normal pathway after the surgery to remove the rectum. Therefore, you require a colostomy in such cases. Doctors typically start with treatment options such as chemoradiotherapy. This reduces the likelihood that you may require a colostomy. However, this kind of surgery is typically necessary if chemotherapy and radiation therapy cannot remove your cancer completely or if the cancer recurs.

You can also have a stoma if you receive an APR as your initial treatment rather than chemoradiotherapy. This is uncommon but can happen if you:

  • Undergone lower abdomen (pelvis) treatment in the past, you cannot get more radiotherapy to treat the malignancy.
  • Have adenocarcinoma, a kind of anal cancer or adenosquamous carcinoma. Radiotherapy is less effective against these tumors.
  • Are receiving immunosuppressive medications as part of a transplant, and you may not be well enough to endure chemotherapy without taking breaks.
  • Choose not to have chemoradiation treatment

Other reasons for Colostomy

For the treatment of a number of different illnesses and ailments, colostomy surgery may be necessary. These consist of:

  • Birth defect,  known as an imperforate anus, which includes a blocked or absent anal opening
  • Serious illnesses, such as diverticulitis, which causes inflammation of the colon’s small sacs
  • Inflammation of the bowels
  • A rectus or colon injury
  • Intestine or bowel blockage, whether partial or complete
  • Colon or rectal cancer

The medical professional uses the reason for the colostomy to determine whether it will be temporary or permanent. For instance, certain diseases or injuries call for temporarily giving the bowel rest before reconnecting it. For a more serious or untreatable condition, such as cancer, that demands removal of the rectum or a malfunction of the muscles that govern elimination; a permanent colostomy may be necessary.

Different Types of Colostomy

There are various types of colostomy. They take their name from the portion of the colon that connects to your body’s external environment. 

Sigmoid Colostomy

It is the  common type of colostomy. It takes place where waste is transported to the rectum, in the bottom portion of the large intestine. Compared to other types, this type of colostomy produces more solid, regular stools.

Transverse Colostomy

Here the colon is across the top of the abdomen during this kind of colostomy. This area typically has soft stools. This is because it still includes much water and hasn’t passed through much of the colon. Three different transverse colostomies exist:

  • Loop colostomy: The stool exits from a stoma created by a loop colostomy. The colon and rectum remain connected to the rectum. People occasionally discharge gas or stools through the rectum as a result.
  • Single-barrel colostomy: A single-barrel colostomy removes the colon and the rectum, and the anal opening from below the colostomy. This kind of colostomy is permanent.
  • Double-barrel colostomy: The colon is split into two ends by a double-barrel colostomy, which creates two distinct stomas. One of the stomas is where the stool exits. The other is where the colon’s produced mucus leaves. It is the least common transverse colostomy.

Descending colostomy

This type of colostomy uses the left side of the abdomen. The stool from that area is often firm because it has already passed through the majority of the colon.

Ascending colostomy

This type of colostomy is usually close to where the large intestine begins. As a result of the colon absorbing very little water, the stool is typically watery. This kind of colostomy is rare. Your doctor might decide to do an ileostomy instead.

Living with Colostomy

Many activities a person engages in before surgery can be continued while they have a colostomy bag. Unless someone tells them, most other people won’t know they use a colostomy bag.

When managing their pouching system, people with colostomy bags may need to use the restroom more frequently and refrain from lifting heavy objects. Otherwise, a colostomy bag should not significantly disrupt a person’s everyday activities.

Conclusion 

A colostomy bag is for patients who have undergone colostomy due to various reasons. It can be due to certain injuries, defects or due to cancer. In the case of cancer, it is usually necessary for those whose anus and rectum are surgically removed. However, the type of colostomy and the after-effects will depend upon the individual patients. 

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