Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is a disease with a poor prognosis, particularly in patients with advanced bowel or gynecological cancers. Multimodality teatments may be used to relieve the symptoms in patients with MBO; however, there is currently no consensus regarding the optimal treatment and no strong evidence supporting the efficacy of any treatment in improving the quality of life (QOL) and prolonging survival. We conducted a search through our medical center database of cancer registries for MBO cases between January, 1995 and December, 2008 and analyzed the clinicopathological characteristics and association between treatments and prognosis or QOL. The primary type of cancer causing MBO was found to be adenocarcinoma of colon. The overall survival time was found to be significantly higher among patients presenting with MBO as the initial symptom and improved QOL was achieved in patients who received surgical treatment. The mean survival time and the functional status of colorectal cancer patients receiving targeted therapy and chemotherapy were more satisfactory compared with those receiving surgery alone or conservative treatment. Furthermore, for end-stage cancer patients with MBO, hospice care was effective in reducing pain scores and relieving the symptoms of the disease.