If the bladder is removed as part of your treatment for bladder cancer, our surgeons may create an opening on the abdomen, called a stoma, through which urine can be diverted to be collected in an external pouch. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, our nurses provide expert support in helping patients care for a stoma.
An inpatient Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN) will answer your questions and teach you how to manage and care for the stoma. Upon leaving the hospital, this nurse will give you written instructions on how to care for the stoma and change the urine collection pouch. We can also arrange for a visiting nurse to help you care for the stoma at home.
A few weeks after leaving the hospital, you will have a follow-up appointment during which you will be examined by your doctor and an outpatient CWOCN, who will inspect the stoma and provide further support and instruction. Over the following months, your outpatient CWOCN will continue to assist you with questions about your care. For long-term care, you can make follow-up appointments with your CWOCN to address any concerns that arise.
Support Groups for Recipients of Stomas
For further assistance with stomal care, Memorial Sloan Kettering offers in-person and virtual support groups to give you and your family the opportunity to discuss challenges and solutions surrounding bladder cancer treatment. Patients and survivors can participate in periodic group meetings led by social workers, nurses, and peers to discuss changes in physical functioning, appearance, lifestyle, and self-image, as well as fatigue, isolation, and concerns about the future.
You also may find helpful information at the United Ostomy Associations of America and at C3Life.com, a website dedicated to people with ostomies.