That depends on what type of surgery you have. If your doctor can reconnect your colon or rectum after removing the part with cancer, you should be able to have bowel movements normally. But if your doctor cannot reconnect your colon or rectum, he or she will create a hole in your belly and attach the end of the colon or a loop of intestine to that hole. The hole is called a “colostomy.” Your bowel movements will come out during the opening into a bag that is glued to your skin.
Some people need to have a colostomy only for a short time, called a “temporary colostomy or ileostomy.” Then they can have an additional surgery to reconnect their colon or rectum. Other people need to have a colostomy for the rest of their life. This is called a “permanent colostomy or ileostomy.” If you need a colostomy, your doctor will put you in touch with people who can help you learn how to manage.