What Happens If Prostate Cancer Comes Back
The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that helps make seminal fluid. Its intertwined with your urinary tract system, resting below your bladder and surrounding the urethra. As you age, this gland continues to grow, sometimes resulting in benign prostatic hyperplasia. While this growth is normal, cancerous growth is not. Cancer occurs when the cells in your prostate gland begin to grow out of control.
While prostate cancer is common, especially among older men, its got a fairly positive outcome. When caught early and treated, most men survive and continue on with remission after five years. Unfortunately, for a small percentage of men, the cancer returns. To give you some clarity on this situation, heres what happens if prostate cancer comes back.
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Urinary Problems After Surgery
Most men cant control their bladder properly when their catheter is first removed. This is because surgery can damage the muscles and nerves that control when you urinate.You might just leak a few drops if you exercise, cough or sneeze . Or you might leak more and need to wear absorbent pads, especially in the weeks after your surgery.Leaking urine usually improves with time. Most men start to see an improvement one to six months after surgery. Some men leak urine for a year or more and others never fully recover, but there are things that can help and ways you can manage it.
A few men may find it difficult to urinate after surgery . This can be caused by scarring around the opening of the bladder or the urethra .Some men find they suddenly and painfully cant urinate. This is called acute urine retention and it needs treating quickly to prevent further problems. If this happens, call your doctor or nurse, or go to your nearest accident and emergency department.
Watch Paul’s story for one man’s experience of managing urinary problems after surgery below.
Sexual problems after surgery
Change in penis size and shape
Changes to orgasm
The seminal vesicles, which make some of the fluid in semen, are removed during surgery. This means you wont ejaculate any more. You may have a dry orgasm instead where you feel the sensation of orgasm but dont ejaculate. This may feel different to the orgasms youre used to.
Sex After Prostate Surgery
Youll often hear people say that men think about sex every 12 seconds, or some other ridiculous number.
While we may know that isnt exactly the case, theres no denying that for most men its at the forefront of their mind.
So when undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate or even prostate cancer, its inevitable that questions about your sex life will arise.
This article will look at the most common concerns for men who have undergone, are in the middle of, or are thinking about undergoing treatment.
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The Danger Of Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate usually affects men in their 40s, yet some are diagnosed at the age of 30. Medical professionals have suspected that this may be due to the intake of unhealthy foods, such as processed ones, and pollution. However, there could be various factors that increase ones risk for prostate cancer, including hereditary factors. Learn more about prostate cancer, how its diagnosed and treated, and how to manage it with this overview.
Concerned about your prostate cancer risk?
The Sperling Prostate Center is here to help you make sense of it. Schedule a free consultation to review your MRI with Dr. Sperling, and well work with you to plan the best course of action for your unique circumstances.
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The following information is based on the general experiences of many prostate cancer patients. Your experience may be different. If you have any questions about what prostate cancer treatment services are covered by your health insurance, please contact your health care provider or health insurance provider. This education material was made possible by a Grant from the California Department of Justice, Antitrust Law Section, from litigation settlement funds to benefit Californians diagnosed with cancer or their families.
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Types Of Prostate Surgery
There are several ways of removing the prostate keyhole surgery either by hand or robot-assisted, and open surgery.
Although robot-assisted keyhole surgery is the newest technique, the most recent research suggests all three techniques are as good as each other for treating prostate cancer, as long as the surgeon is experienced. They also have similar rates of side effects.
The advantages of keyhole surgery, both by hand and robot-assisted, are that you are likely to lose less blood, have less pain, spend less time in hospital, and heal more quickly than with open surgery.
Keyhole surgery .
- Robot-assisted keyhole surgery Your surgeon makes five or six small cuts in your lower abdomen and a slightly bigger cut near your belly button, and removes the prostate using special surgical tools. These include a thin, lighted tube with a small camera on the tip. The image will appear on a screen so the surgeon can see what theyre doing. Your surgeon controls the tools from a console in the operating room via four or five robotic arms. Although its called robot-assisted, its still a surgeon who does the operation. You may hear the equipment called the da Vinci® Robot.
- Keyhole surgery by hand As with robot-assisted keyhole surgery, the surgeon will make four or five small cuts in your abdomen. But they will hold the surgical tools in their hands, rather than using robotic arms.
How Do You Do It
Generally, there are three ways to accomplish the procedure perfectly. One of them is through internal massage. In this case, you need to do the following things before you start the procedure:
When you do these things, put your finger gently in your anus. Do not rush here because this is very sensitive area and therefore you have to be careful.
After you have your finger placed there, nice and easy search for your prostate gland. It is round in shape and you probably will not have any troubles finding it. After you have found it, you need to use your finger to massage the prostate gland gently.
The second method is the external self prostate massage, where you do not put your finger in your anus. Many men feel uncomfortable doing the internal massage and because of that they prefer the external massage.
In this situation, you massage the area between your anus and scrotum. It is called perineum and it is very gentle area, also.
The third possible option for massaging the prostate is the assisted massage, where you can use one of the many tools, which are made for this reason.
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The Purpose Of Prostate Surgery
Prostate cancer surgery, or radical prostatectomy, is a procedure conventional medicine praises for curing prostate cancer.
It has been performed for many years and was regarded as the gold standard of prostate cancer treatment. However, few studies compare its efficacy to other techniques.
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer today are typically diagnosed with Gleason 6 cancer levels. But, according to many experts, this diagnosis may not be cancer! According to Mark Scholz, MD, a board-certified oncologist and expert on prostate cancer:
Misuse of the term cancer has tragic implications. Real cancer requires action and aggressive medical intervention with the goal of saving a life. But consider the potential havoc created by telling someone they have cancer when it is untrue. This dreadful calamity is occurring to 100,000 men every year in the United States with men who undergo a needle biopsy and are told they have prostate cancer with a grade of Gleason 6.
The impact of this is quite profound. Most prostate cancer diagnosed today falls into this Gleason 6. If it is not cancer, thousands of men have had aggressive treatment for cancer they dont really have.
Aggressive treatment, usually a complete surgical removal of the prostate , is the typical result. This leaves the patient to suffer from its side effects for the rest of their life.
What Changes Can You Expect
- Ejaculation will cease:Without a prostate gland or seminal vesicles, you will no longer experience ejaculation. Even though your orgasm may feel different, it will still be pleasurable.
- Leaking urine during sex:This is possible but does not happen to all men. Its harmless and temporary.
- Performance anxiety:Dont underestimate the emotional roller coaster of prostate cancer surgery and recovery. Its normal to worry about sex after prostate cancer. Being open and honest with your partner will help.
Keep in mind that your overall health, age, and present ED status are all factors in your recovery to sex after prostate surgery.
Less commonly, the prostate cancer tumor may bulge to one or both sides of the prostate gland, making nerve-sparing surgery extremely difficult or impossible.
Dr. Samadi will help you understand your exact prostate cancer status and the position and size of your tumor. In some cases, a nerve graft can be performed to regenerate the penile nerves for sex after prostate surgery.
- Changes in mood and libido:The psychological impact of surgery can be significant this will leave you tired and irritable, not in the mood for sex so you will need to move towards intimacy slowly and your desire will return back to normal.
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What Are The Different Types Of Prostate Cancer Surgery
The most common one is called a radical prostatectomy. In this procedure, the entire prostate gland is removed, along with some of the surrounding tissue. In some cases, nearby lymph nodes are removed as well. There are several surgical approaches for this, including traditional open surgery. We can also use minimally invasive procedures, such as laparoscopic surgery and robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
A critical aspect of a radical prostatectomy is tailoring it to the individual features of each mans cancer. One size does not fit all. This means the exact same procedure is not appropriate for every person. The location, size, and other features of the cancer are considered to design an operation that is appropriate for the person.
In a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, a surgeon inserts a tiny camera called a laparoscope through a small cut in the abdomen. The camera gives doctors a magnified, high-definition picture of the prostate gland. With that image as a guide, the surgeon can remove the prostate, seminal vesicles, and lymph nodes using special tools.
To do a robot-assisted procedure, a surgeon sits at a console that has a screen as well as hand, finger, and foot controls. The surgeons hand, wrist, finger, and foot movements control the robotic instruments inside the patient in real time.
Using Medication To Reduce Symptoms
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What Are The Risks Or Complications Of Radical Prostatectomy
Radical prostatectomy is generally very safe. Surgeons try to protect the nerves that run from the prostate to the penis. But problems due to nerve damage can occur. There is a risk that you may experience:
- Urinary incontinence: Some people experience urinary incontinence, although most people recover continence. Your provider can help you manage loss of bladder control and urine leakage.
- Erectile dysfunction: Many people have problems maintaining erections after this surgery. The likelihood of recovery of erectile function depends on your erections before surgery and your surgeons ability to spare the nerves that control erection at the time of surgery. You may need to use erectile dysfunction medications or other treatments. The older you are, the more likely problems may occur.
There is also a small risk that you may experience:
Transurethral Resection Of The Prostate
This operation is more often used to treat men with non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia . But it is also sometimes used in men with advanced prostate cancer to help relieve symptoms, such as trouble urinating.
During this operation, the surgeon removes the inner part of the prostate gland that surrounds the urethra . The skin is not cut with this surgery. An instrument called a resectoscope is passed through the tip of the penis into the urethra to the level of the prostate. Once it is in place, either electricity is passed through a wire to heat it or a laser is used to cut or vaporize the tissue. Spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia is used.
The operation usually takes about an hour. After surgery, a catheter is inserted through the penis and into the bladder. It remains in place for about a day to help urine drain while the prostate heals. You can usually leave the hospital after 1 to 2 days and return to normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.
You will probably have some blood in your urine after surgery.
Other possible side effects from TURP include infection and any risks that come with the type of anesthesia used.
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Other Possible Side Effects
Anorgasmia is the inability to achieve orgasm regardless of the level of stimulation.
2) Penile shrinkage
Removal of the prostate seems to initiate a phase of penile shrinkage that varies between 2 to 3 cm. For men with large organs, this may have little effect. But a man that starts on the small side might be very dismayed about it.
3) Urine leakage or pain during intercourse
4) Urine leakage at orgasm
5) Pain or discomfort at orgasm
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms after your surgery:
- Bleeding, swelling or drainage from the incisions.
- Inability to have a bowel movement.
- Inability to urinate after catheter removal.
- Increased pain around the incisions.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Radical prostatectomy is a common surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. This prostate cancer surgery may be robotic surgery or open surgery. Robotic surgery has a shorter recovery time. Full recovery can take weeks, with some side effects lasting for months. Light exercise and medication can help you heal faster.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/03/2021.
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Within 30 Days Of Your Surgery
Before your surgery, youll have an appointment for presurgical testing . The date, time, and location will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeons office. Its helpful to bring the following things to your PST appointment:
- A list of all the medications youre taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.
- Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
- The name and telephone number of your healthcare provider.
You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your appointment.
During your PST appointment, youll meet with a nurse practitioner . They work closely with anesthesiology staff . Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests, such as an electrocardiogram to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests needed to plan your care. Your NP may also recommend that you see other healthcare providers.
Your NP will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.
Complete a Health Care Proxy form
If you havent already completed a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you complete one now. If youve already completed one or have any other advance directives, bring them to your next appointment.
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Do breathing and coughing exercises
Follow a healthy diet
Are There Differences Between Orp Lrp And Ralrp
According to a 2010 of different surgery types for prostate cancer, the outcomes for open radical prostatectomy , laparoscopic , and robotic-assisted prostatectomy are not significantly different.
But people who choose LRP and RALRP may experience:
- less blood loss
- shorter hospital stay
- faster recovery time
Also, people who choose RALRP report faster recovery in continence and decreased hospital stay, in comparison to LRP. But the overall outcomes still depend on the surgeons experience and skill.
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