Colostomy: A Guide

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To learn more

More information from your American Cancer Society

We have selected some related information that may also be helpful to you. These materials may be read online or ordered from our toll-free number.

After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)

Americans With Disabilities Act: Information for People Facing Cancer

Caring for the Patient With Cancer At Home: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)

Sexuality for the Man With Cancer (also in Spanish)

Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer (also in Spanish)

Colorectal Cancer: Detailed Guide (also in Spanish)

Colorectal Cancer Overview (also in Spanish)

National organizations and websites*

Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN)
Toll-free number: 1-888-224-9626

    The WOC nurse is a specialist in ostomy care and rehabilitation. These nurses care for and teach people with ostomies, coordinate patient care, teach nursing staff in hospitals and clinics, and work closely with the nursing and medical professions to improve the quality of ostomy rehabilitation programs. The WOCN Society can help you find a WOC nurse in your area. The “Patient Information” section of their website contains resources for patients and families.

United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-826-0826

    For local support group information; the interactive website includes discussion boards and online support groups

International Ostomy Association (IOA)

    Advocates for and outlines the rights of ostomates worldwide

    A web-only resource that offers information on ostomies, blogs, discussion forums, and more


    Has inspirational stories and support groups; offers hope to others facing life changing disease and transitioning to a new life after ostomy surgery.

Osto Group
Toll-free number: 1-877-678-6690

    A non-profit organization that accepts donations of unused ostomy products and provides products to uninsured people for the cost of shipping and handling.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227
TTY: 1-877-486-2048

    Ostomy care and supplies are covered under part B of Medicare. These same supplies and care may be covered under Medicaid (this is state regulated and varies). Check with an ostomy nurse about which health department or other agency in your state may be able to help you.

*Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.

No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

In its original form this document was written by the United Ostomy Association, Inc. (1962-2005) and reviewed by Jan Clark, RNET, CWOCN and Peg Grover, RNET. It has since been modified and updated by the American Cancer Society.

Last Medical Review: 12/02/2014
Last Revised: 12/02/2014