Cancer survivors’ greatest challenges of living with an ostomy: findings from the Ostomy Self-Management Telehealth (OSMT) randomized trial

Marcia Grant, Virginia Sun, Nancy J. Tallman, Christopher S. Wendel, Ruth McCorkle, Elizabeth Ercolano, Christie Simons, Julia Mo, Sabreen Raza, Deborah Donahue, Frank Passero, Joshua Henson, Lyn MacDougall, Jonathan Friedlaender, Pamela Pitcher, Dan Fry, Pete Yonsetto, Michael J. Holcomb, Mark C. Hornbrook, Ronald S. WeinsteinRobert S. Krouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: An ostomy results in lifelong quality of life changes for a cancer survivor. We describe the greatest challenges reported from a randomized trial of cancer survivors with stomas (ostomies). Methods: Cancer survivors with ostomies participating in a multi-site randomized prospective trial of an Ostomy Self-Management Telehealth (OSMT) program versus usual care (UC) were surveyed at six months post accrual. An open-ended question requested greatest challenges after ostomy surgery. Quantitative descriptive and qualitative analyses were used to examine greatest challenges reported. Results: A total of 118 trial participants identified greatest challenges with 55 in the OSMT and 63 in the UC. Six conceptual domains were used to code comments—physical, psychological, social, and spiritual quality of life; ostomy-specific issues, and healthcare issues. The OSMT contributed 187 comments, and UC contributed 235 comments. Ostomy specific issues and social well-being had the most comments overall with UC contributing more comments in all domains except physical well-being. Word Clouds revealed post-operative and treatment-related issues and going out in public as the most common challenges in both groups. Word Clouds compared types of ostomies revealing bowel function challenges (colostomy group), difficulties going out in public (ileostomy group), and positive support (urostomy group). Conclusions: Fewer challenges submitted by the OSMT group provide the beginning evidence of the OSMT program impact. Dominant challenges across both groups were social well-being and ostomy care. Challenges varied by type of ostomy. Findings support long-term care and support for all cancer survivors with ostomies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1147
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Cancer survivors
  • Challenges
  • Ostomies
  • Telehealth support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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