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The purpose of this study was to review our experience with palliative ostomy surgery in patients with bowel obstruction and advanced stage colorectal cancer.A descriptive, retrospective review of data from a prospectively collected clinical database.The sample comprised 86 patients (55 male) who underwent palliative surgery between October 1998 and January 2009.All patients undergoing palliative stoma formation without resection for colorectal carcinoma were identified from a prospectively compiled colorectal cancer database. Patients having colorectal stent placement and bypass surgery were excluded from analysis.The median age at surgery was 71 years (interquartile range, 65-79 years). The median survival following ostomy creation was 103 days (interquartile range, 19-263 days). Sixty-nine percent of participants (n = 59) survived 30 days and 18% (n=16) survived 12 months.Our results confirm that patients undergoing palliative stoma formation have limited life expectancy. Nevertheless, these findings are encouraging when compared to the anticipated outcomes of untreated bowel obstruction.