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Prostate cancer

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Surgery for prostate cancer

Surgery is a common treatment for prostate cancer. Surgery is used to:

  • potentially cure the cancer by completely removing the tumour
  • reduce pain or ease symptoms (palliative treatment)

The type of surgery done depends mainly on the stage of the cancer and other factors, such as the man’s age, general health and life expectancy. Side effects of surgery depend on the type of surgical procedure.

Radical prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy is the most common surgery to treat localized prostate cancer.

Transurethral resection of the prostate

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is usually done as palliative treatment to relieve urinary obstruction.

Pelvic lymph node dissection

Lymph fluid from the prostate drains into the pelvic lymph nodes.

Usually, prostate cancer that has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes is considered incurable. Sometimes prostate cancer with only microscopic spread to the lymph nodes can be cured with surgery.

Pelvic lymph node dissection is performed during radical prostatectomy to find out if the cancer has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes. It does not need to be done in men with low-risk cancer.

In this procedure, the major groups of lymph nodes in the pelvis are removed.

See a list of questions to ask your doctor about surgery.

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