Different types of cancer and treatment can affect the function of your bladder and/or bowels.
Some people become unable to control their bladder or bowel, this is known as incontinence. For other people, a stoma is required. A stoma is a surgically created opening in the abdomen that allows bladder and bowel movements (wee and poo) to leave the body. The end of the bowel is brought out through the opening and stitched onto the skin.
There are services available to help manage both incontinence and stomas.
Ask your treatment team
If you are experiencing issues with incontinence, it is important to tell your treatment team. Ask about the options that are available to help you manage any continence issues you are facing. They are likely to be able to provide you with support and resources or will be able to refer you to a service that can help.
If there is a chance you could need a stoma, the surgeon will probably refer you to a stomal therapy nurse before surgery. Stomal therapy nurses are registered nurses with special training in stoma care, and are available at most major hospitals, district nursing agencies and in private practice. A stomal therapy nurse can talk to you about the best position for the stoma, answer questions about your surgery and recovery, and give you information about adjusting to life with a stoma.
Questions to ask about this service
When looking at a service it is important to ask questions about how the service works before you decide to engage with them. Below is a list of questions you might like to ask when enquiring about a service.
Am I eligible?
Do I need a referral?
How much will this cost me?
Is there a wait time?
What services do you offer?
Will I be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient?
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