Prostate cancer surgery, also called a radical prostatectomy, is the surgical removal of the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue. It is one option to treat prostate cancer along with radiation, hormone therapy, and active surveillance. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer before it spreads outside the prostate.
If you have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor likely used tests like a PSA blood test or digital rectal exam to find it. Prostate cancer is very common, affecting about 1 in 9 men. The stage, describing how far it has spread, and grade, describing how abnormal the cells look, determine your treatment options. Early stage, low grade prostate cancer may not need immediate treatment.
You and your doctor will discuss if removing your prostate is the best choice. It depends on factors like your age, health, cancer stage and grade, and preferences. Surgery aims to cure cancer that is still inside the prostate. If it has spread, other treatments like radiation or hormone therapy may be added. Surgery can have side effects like urinary and sexual problems. Consider your goals and quality of life after weighing the pros and cons.
There are a few techniques to remove the prostate:
During the operation, you’ll be under general anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain. The surgeon will make incisions, access the prostate, disconnect it, and remove it along with nearby tissue. They will also take some lymph nodes to test for cancer spread. Surgery takes 2-4 hours depending on technique. You’ll stay in the hospital 1-2 nights after.
Recovering After Surgery Expect some pain, bleeding, and bruising as you heal over 2-6 weeks. You’ll have a catheter to drain urine. Side effects like urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction are common but often improve with time. Stay active but avoid heavy activity for 4-6 weeks. Your doctor will monitor your recovery with follow up visits.
For early stage cancer, surgery offers a high cure rate. Urinary and sexual function varies for each patient. Outcomes are similar between open and robotic methods when done by an experienced surgeon. Talk to your doctor about realistic expectations for your individual case.
Considering surgery for prostate cancer is very personal. Speak to your doctor about your cancer specifics, treatment goals, and lifestyle. Surgery can be very effective when used appropriately. Get a second opinion if you are unsure. Stay informed, ask questions, and choose the option that feels right for you.