Surgery may be an option for men who are in good health and have early-stage prostate cancer. Surgical treatments for prostate cancer include the following:
- Open prostatectomy: a type of surgery where the doctor removes the prostate gland through a single long cut made in the abdomen from a point below the navel to just above the pubic bone. This is also called a retropubic [ret-ro-PYOO-bik] prostatectomy. [pros-ta-TEK-tuh-me]
- Laparoscopic surgery: a type of surgery where the doctor uses a laparoscope to see and remove the prostate gland. A laparoscope is a long slender tube with a light and camera on the end. This surgery is done through four to six small cuts in the navel and the abdomen, instead of one long cut in the abdomen. The laparoscope is inserted through one of the cuts, and surgical tools are inserted through the others. [LAP-er-uh-skop-ik]
- Perineal prostatectomy: a type of surgery where the doctor removes the prostate gland through an incision between the scrotum and the anus. [PAIR-uh-nee-uhl pros-ta-TEK-tuh-me]
All surgical procedures attempt to treat prostate cancer through prostatectomy, which involves removing the entire prostate gland: a walnut-sized gland that produces some of the fluid that carries sperm. and some tissues around it, including the seminal vesicles: two small glands near the prostate gland that help produce semen. and sometimes the lymph nodes: small structures that help filter out harmful substances from the body’s tissues. Lymph nodes are spread throughout the body. In patients with cancer, the cancer can sometimes spread from the place where it first appeared to nearby lymph nodes.
The procedure itself has a high success rate for healthy men, but it can involve the risk of causing side effects, including loss of urinary control and loss of sexual function.
- Normal bladder control may return after several weeks or months.
- Sexual function, or potency, may return after weeks or months for some patients, but may not return for others. The impact of surgery on sexual function varies from one patient to another based on factors such as sexual function prior to the surgery, type of surgery, patient age, and overall health.
If your doctor recommends surgery, you should talk to your doctor about how it may affect urinary control and sexual function.
- American Cancer Society. Surgery for prostate cancer. www.cancer.org/Cancer/ProstateCancer/DetailedGuide/prostate-cancer-treating-surgery. Accessed August 28, 2012.