Prostate Cancer - Surgery
Surgery is one of two main treatments for
prostate cancer. Radiation is the other. Surgery may
be done to remove the prostate and its cancer. It may done to remove and test
lymph nodes in the area to see whether the cancer has spread (pelvic lymphadenectomy). It also may be
done to fix urinary problems that are caused by a tumor pressing on the
urethra (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP).
stage of your prostate cancer along with your age and
general health will affect the type of surgery you choose.
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 is done with a tiny camera and
special instruments to remove the prostate. Sometimes lymph nodes in the area
also are removed so that they can be checked for signs of cancer. This is
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
Laparoscopic surgery may be
done by hand, but some doctors now do this surgery by guiding robotic arms that
hold the surgery tools. This is called robot-assisted prostatectomy.
What to Think About
Removing the prostate can cause
erection problems and bladder problems. But for many men, these problems get
better over time. If you and your doctor decide that you need surgery, be sure to choose a highly skilled surgeon at a hospital that has a good success rate. Studies show that men have fewer side effects from prostate surgery when they have a skilled and experienced surgeon.8
Surgery may completely remove your prostate
cancer. But it is not possible to know for sure before surgery whether the
cancer has spread beyond the prostate. When cancer has spread, it cannot always
be cured with surgery alone.