If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor is probably recommending surgery to remove your prostate. Sometimes, this surgery alone is enough to treat the cancer. Other times, it will be followed up with either chemotherapy or radiation. In either case, you probably have a few questions about your upcoming surgical procedure. Here are the answers.
Why does the entire gland need to be removed?
If you've known someone with breast cancer who only had to have part of their breast removed—or someone with stomach cancer who only had part of their stomach removed—you may wonder why your entire prostate needs to be take, rather than just the tumor. This is because the prostate gland is rather small; it's about the size of a walnut. Usually, by the time cancer is detected, it affects the whole gland, and it is not worth it for your surgeon to attempt to preserve part of it.
How long does it take to recover from prostate cancer?
Usually, after the surgery, you will spend one to two days in the hospital for observation. Then, you will return home, where you will need to remain essentially in bed for about a week. After this point, you can slowly resume activity. Most people are back to work about three weeks after surgery, although you may need a bit longer to recover if you have a very active job.
Will prostate removal affect your sex life?
After prostate surgery, you may initially have some trouble with erectile dysfunction. However, this tends to subside as you continue to recover. Your doctor can prescribe a medication to help in the meantime. It will still be possible for you to orgasm, but without your prostate, you will not ejaculate. Some men report that the orgasms feel different after surgery, but they are still enjoyable. Be patient with yourself as you resume having sex post-surgery. It helps to talk openly and honestly with your partner about the procedure and how you are feeling.
Will the surgery be performed robotically?
Most prostate surgeries are now performed by robots. This allows for a more precise removal of the gland without removing as much extra tissue. The recovery time also tends to be shorter when you have robotic surgery. However, there are rare cases in which robotic surgery is not recommended; your doctor can tell you what is right for you.
For more information, contact prostate cancer clinics in your area.