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Treating Prostate Cancer with Surgery

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When is surgery for prostate cancer recommended?

When considering treating prostate cancer with surgery, a urologist will look at whether the cancer has spread outside the prostate area, as well as the health and age of the patient.

Surgery is usually recommended for localised prostate cancer, when the cancer is only found within the prostate gland, or locally advanced prostate cancer, when the cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland but is still connected to the prostate1.

For a patient to be considered for surgery they will also have to be fit enough to tolerate the anaesthetic.

Advantages of surgery to treat prostate cancer

Successful prostate cancer surgery has one very big advantage over other treatments – the cancer is removed from the body. This means that a patient has a final stage, final grade and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of zero.

Prostate cancer surgeries are performed regularly and have a very high success rate in the UK. Surgeries that fail to remove all of the cancer usually only occur in patients with a high grade and stage of prostate cancer, which means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Side effects of surgery to treat prostate cancer

Many patients will be concerned about the after effects of prostate surgery on their body. Whilst all prostate cancer surgeries carry some risk of incontinence, lower libido, a weaker erection and impotence2, it is rare for these side effects to last after a recovery period. In the UK, prostate cancer surgery is performed by highly experienced surgeons who perform around 100 to 150 prostate surgeries every year.

Surgery to treat prostate cancer – open versus keyhole

Whilst keyhole surgery to treat prostate cancer has become more common in the past ten years, 60% of surgeries in the UK are still performed using the open surgery techniques which have been perfected over the past one hundred years.

The type of surgery chosen will always depend on the health of the patient and the status of the prostate cancer.

Mr Christopher Eden
Consultant Urologist

1. NHS Choices – Prostate cancer treatment. Date last updated: 14.02.2011. Website:
2. NHS Choices – Prostate cancer. Date last updated: 14.02.2011. Website:


10530 February 2012

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