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How is surgery used in the treatment of prostate cancer?

Surgery is one of the common treatments of cancer of the prostate. A doctor may take out the cancer using one of the following operations. Surgery is usually reserved for patients in good health, who are younger than 70 years of age, and who elect surgical intervention.

Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate and some of the tissue around it. The doctor may do the surgery by cutting into the space between the scrotum and the anus (the perineum) in an operation called a perineal prostatectomy or by cutting into the lower abdomen in an operation called a retropubic prostatectomy. Radical prostatectomy is done only if the cancer has not spread outside the prostate. Often before the prostatectomy is done, the doctor will do surgery to take out lymph nodes in the pelvis to see if they contain cancer. This is called a pelvic lymph node dissection. If the lymph nodes contain cancer, usually the doctor will not do a prostatectomy and may or may not recommend other therapy at this time. Impotence and leakage of urine from the bladder can occur in men treated with surgery.

Transurethral resection is a procedure in which the cancer is cut from the prostate using a tool with a small wire loop on the end that is put into the prostate through the urethra. This operation is sometimes done to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor before other treatment or in men who cannot have a radical prostatectomy because of age or other illness.

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