Surgery is a common treatment for prostate cancer. The type of surgery depends on the stage of cancer, patient age, and life expectancy. The goal is to remove all or as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery for early stage prostate cancer offers the best chance for a cure.
A radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and part of the vas deferens. The goal is to remove the cancer while it is still contained within the prostate gland.
There are two different methods:
Prostatectomies can be done as:
Side effects to this type of surgery include:
Cryosurgery is the freezing of abnormal tissue in the prostate gland. Several needles are passed into the prostate to deliver a gas straight to the prostate tissue. The freezing gas destroys prostate tissue. An ultrasound will help guide the needle and avoid damage to nearby healthy tissue.
Although it is used to treat early stage prostate cancer, it is not usually the first option. It may be done if cancer returns after other nonsurgical treatments are done.
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is done through a tube called a rectoscope. The scope is inserted through the penis and into the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. Surgical instruments can be passed through the tube to remove prostate tissue. Tissue can also be removed with an electric wire or laser, or by vaporization. It is done to manage urinary symptoms caused by growing tumors.
Orchiectomy is the surgical removal of one or both testicles. The testicles are removed through an incision in the skin of the scrotum. This procedure is done to remove the major source of androgens in the body. It does not offer a cure, but it helps slow the growth of cancer cells. It is considered a type of hormonal therapy. It is generally used only to manage metastatic prostate cancer that is stimulated by hormones. Orchiectomy can also be done with hormone-reducing medications.
Cryotherapy for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/cryosurgery.html. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed Accessed April 19, 2017.
Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/prostate-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed April 19, 2017.
Surgery for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/surgery.html. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed Accessed April 19, 2017.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed April 19, 2017.
What is cryotherapy? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer/treatment/cryotherapy. Accessed April 19, 2017.
What is radical prostatectomy (surgery) for prostate cancer? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer/treatment/surgery. Accessed April 19, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 4/19/2017