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What Are the Risks of Prostate Cancer Surgery?

If your prostate cancer treatment plan includes surgery, you might be wondering about the risks associated with your procedure. The oncologists in the Urologic Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center can provide some general information for you to consider. We encourage you to review this information prior to having an in-depth discussion about your individual risk profile with your treatment team, which is always your best source of advice and support.

The most commonly recommended type of surgery for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the entire prostate gland and some surrounding tissues, including the seminal vesicles. Like all forms of surgery, a radical prostatectomy has some inherent risks, which can vary widely from patient to patient.

What are the side effects of having the prostate removed through surgery?

Some possible risks of a radical prostatectomy include:

  • Urinary stress, overflow or urge incontinence
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Changes in orgasm, including no ejaculation of semen, diminished intensity and pain
  • Loss of fertility
  • Lymphedema (painful swelling) in the legs or genital area
  • A change in penis length (if the urethra is shortened)
  • Inguinal hernia

Depending on a patient’s needs, prostate cancer surgery may be performed traditionally or laparoscopically. In general, a laparoscopic prostatectomy offers some advantages over an open radical prostatectomy, including smaller incisions, less pain and blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.

Moffitt’s Urologic Oncology Program is accredited by the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO), and we have a comprehensive supportive care system in place to provide our patients with the best possible quality of life both during and after prostate cancer treatment.

Moffitt Cancer Center accepts new patients with and without referrals. If you’d like to discuss the risks of prostate cancer surgery with a surgeon in our Urologic Oncology Program, you can request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online.