OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this population-based study was to compare decompressing stoma (DS) as bridge to surgery (BTS) with emergency resection (ER) for left-sided obstructive colon cancer (LSOCC) using propensity-score matching. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Recently, an increased use of DS as BTS for LSOCC has been observed in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, good quality comparative analyses with ER are scarce. METHODS: Patients diagnosed with nonlocally advanced LSOCC between 2009 and 2016 in 75 Dutch hospitals, who underwent DS or ER in the curative setting, were propensity-score matched in a 1:2 ratio. The primary outcome measure was 90-day mortality, and main secondary outcomes were 3-year overall survival and permanent stoma rate. RESULTS: Of 2048 eligible patients, 236 patients who underwent DS were matched with 472 patients undergoing ER. After DS, more laparoscopic resections were performed (56.8% vs 9.2%, P < 0.001) and more primary anastomoses were constructed (88.5% vs 40.7%, P < 0.001). DS resulted in significantly lower 90-day mortality compared to ER (1.7% vs 7.2%, P = 0.006), and this effect could be mainly attributed to the subgroup of patients over 70 years (3.5% vs 13.7%, P = 0.027). Patients treated with DS as BTS had better 3-year overall survival (79.4% vs 73.3%, hazard ratio 0.36, 95% confidence interval 0.20-0.65) and fewer permanent stomas (23.4% vs 42.4%, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In this nationwide propensity-score matched study, DS as a BTS for LSOCC was associated with lower 90-day mortality and better 3-year overall survival compared to ER, especially in patients over 70 years of age.