Surgery for prostate cancer may be done to:
- Remove the prostate and its cancer (prostatectomy). Nearby lymph nodes also may be removed to check for cancer (lymphadenectomy) during a prostatectomy.
- Fix urinary problems that are caused by a tumor pressing on the urethra (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP).
Radical prostatectomy is an operation to remove the entire prostate and any nearby tissue that may contain cancer. It can be done as open surgery through an incision (cut) in the belly, or as laparoscopic surgery through several very small incisions in the belly. Laparoscopic surgery to remove the prostate is done with a tiny camera and special tools. Sometimes lymph nodes in the area also are removed so that they can be checked for signs of cancer. This is called a lymph node biopsy.
- Nerve-sparing surgery helps preserve the nerves that are along the side of the prostate and that are needed for an erection. This is only done when there is little chance of leaving cancer cells behind. If you already have sexual function issues, nerve-sparing surgery may not be the best choice for you.
- Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is surgery done through small incisions in the belly with robotic arms that translate the surgeon's hand motions into finer and more precise movements. This surgery requires specially trained doctors.
Surgery may completely remove your prostate cancer. But it isn't possible to know for sure before surgery whether the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. When cancer has spread, it can't always be cured with surgery alone.