Surgical Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

Choosing a skilled medical team to treat your prostate cancer is crucial. At Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, our experienced team of urologic surgeons is at the forefront of care. With state-of-the-art facilities and a multidisciplinary approach, our surgical oncologists work alongside other globally recognized experts to develop personalized care plans tailored specifically to your needs.

Patients receiving prostate surgery from high-volume surgeons like ours at high-volume hospitals like the Brigham have higher success rates and fewer complications. Our surgeons’ success rates are among the best in the country.

Types of surgery may include:

  • Radical prostatectomy, a surgery that removes the whole prostate gland and some nearby tissue. The surgery may be done with one long incision in the abdomen or the area between the scrotum and the rectum (perineum).
    • If this surgery is performed through one longer incision, it is referred to as an open radical prostatectomy.
    • If this surgery is performed through a few small incisions with laparoscopic instruments using a robot, it is referred to as a robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Robotic surgery can lead to a shorter stay in the hospital, less pain and quicker recovery time because of the small incisions. Our surgical team uses the FDA-approved da Vinci® Surgical System to perform hundreds of robotic prostatectomies each year.
  • Palliative surgery is surgery to help relieve symptoms, such as bowel impactions or blockages, for patients with more advanced, incurable prostate cancer (Stage IV).

Learn more about these surgical treatment options, including what to expect before, during and after surgery. Learn more about all of our center’s treatment options.

If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled to visit the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for preoperative information and tests. Learn more about planning for preoperative appointments, as well as contact information for the Weiner Center.

Before Surgery

In advance of your surgery, we recommend planning ahead for your surgery including designating someone to bring you to and from your procedure. We also recommend that someone helps you with labor-heavy tasks immediately post-surgery, such as grocery shopping, cleaning and laundry. You can also prepare for surgery by eating healthy (especially eating plant-based meals and limiting processed foods, fats and red meats), exercising, limiting alcohol and abstaining from smoking. Your care team will provide you with specific instructions to best prepare for your surgery.

The Day of Surgery

The day of surgery, you will be cared for in the operating room by our surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in prostate cancer surgery. After surgery, you will recover in the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by our experienced surgical and nursing staff. Your hospital stay will depend on the type of surgery you have. The average patient receiving a prostatectomy procedure will be in the hospital for zero to one day.

After Surgery

Recovery time after you leave the hospital varies from patient to patient and on the type of surgery you have, but it may take a month or more for a prostatectomy. You may feel tired or weak immediately post-surgery, and you may also have some pain. Talk with your doctor about your options for pain relief. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for the first month after your surgery. Those who work in person may take three to four weeks off of work after a prostatectomy procedure.

If you have any questions about your surgery, talk to your health care team. They can help you know what to expect before, during and after your surgery. Learn more about your hospital stay and returning home.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Our multidisciplinary team will manage your care in a personal and individualized way. Treatment options depend on your age, overall health, disease aggressiveness, potential adverse effects and your personal preferences. Learn more about our non-surgical treatment options for prostate cancer here.

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