Sugery for prostate cancer

Undergoing Surgery for prostate cancer

Alison Thrum. Urology Nurse Consultant

Radical Prostatectomy is a major operation to remove the entire prostate and seminal vesicles. This is undertaken to eradicate and cure patients of prostate cancer. It may be done as a Laparoscopic or Robotic procedure and due to the keyhole approach has the advantage of shorter hospital admissions, less blood loss and lower levels of post-operative pain.

The surgery takes between 3-5 hours to complete and patients are generally discharged from hospital after 2-3days. Patients are sent home with a catheter for 2 weeks before they return to the Drs rooms for its removal.

In conjunction with your Specialist, the following information has been provided as a resource to assist/ support you through your Prostate Cancer journey.


·        After diagnosis take time to digest the information, think about it and discuss it with your family. Talking to those close to you can be a great support.


·         It can be helpful to talk to other men who have also walked this path to help form a personal idea of what lies ahead. You may already know someone or may wish to connect through a support network. Support networks can be found easily through the following websites along with other valuable information.


Where can I go for Help?

·        Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia: or 1800 220099


·        Prostate Cancer Support Groups:

Locate your nearest group at


·        Cancer Council of Australia Helpline: or Phone: 13 11 20


·        Beyondblue: the national depression initiative:   or 1300 224 636


·        Continence Foundation of Australia Helpline:

1800 330 066


Studies have shown the psychological stress associated with any cancer diagnosis can be reduced through peer support. Evidence suggests that support groups can improve quality of life for people with cancer and their carer.

      Prior to surgery you will undergo pre-operative evaluation and education. Much of the pre-operative visit is dedicated to the patient and family education about the procedure, the hospital stay, the discharge, and post-operative expectations.

Important aspects of the pre-operative teaching include the use and care of the urinary catheter, which is left in place for 2 weeks and managed at home prior to removal in the Drs rooms. The catheter will drain the bladder as it aids with healing of the anastomosis.

Identification of the Pelvic Floor Muscles and specific training exercises are taught to aid with continence management post catheter removal. When the catheter is removed, it is normal to experience urinary incontinence that will require management with pads. This will generally improve significantly within weeks to months, with severe, persistent urinary incontinence much less common in about 5% of patients.

It is imperative to learn and practise your pelvic floor muscle exercises prior to your surgery, put them on hold whilst the catheter is in place and recommence them post catheter removal. These exercises will help strengthen the muscles essential for continence.

Incontinence post catheter removal is managed with incontinence pads which you will be shown what to purchase and how to use effectively.

National Continence Helpline: or Phone 1800 33 00 66

It is important to be aware of the impact that treatment may have on your sexual function before you have treatment. For some men erectile dysfunction caused from prostate cancer treatment may not be a concern, for others it may be a significant problem. Damage may be done to nerves near the prostate during the operation to remove the cancer. Although your urologist will try to avoid damage, the extent to which this is possible, among other things depends on your cancer. It is possible to retain or restore erectile function in time.