Purpose Surgical treatment for rectal cancer (RC) can result in an intestinal ostomy that requires lifelong adaptation and investment of physical, cognitive, and financial resources. However, little is known about the extent of ongoing challenges related to ostomy self-care among long-term RC survivors. We analyzed the prevalence of self-reported ostomy self-care challenges and the physical and environmental factors that can support or undermine ostomy self-care. Methods We mailed surveys to long-term (≥ 5 years post-diagnosis) RC survivors, including 177 adults with ostomies who were members of integrated health systems in northern California, Oregon, and Washington State. Potential participants were identi- fied through tumor registries. Data were also extracted from electronic health records. Results The response rate was 65%. The majority of respondents were male (67%), and the mean age was 75 years. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported at least one ostomy self-care challenge. The most common challenges were leakage or skin problems around the ostomy and needing to change the pouching system too frequently. Twenty-two percent reported difficulty caring for their ostomy. Younger age and higher BMI were consistently related to ostomy self-care challenges. Conclusions The majority of RC survivors reported ostomy-related self-care challenges, and 31% experienced problems across
Supportive Care in Cancer – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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