Commonly asked questions about prostate cancer surgery

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If you’re considering radical prostatectomy (prostate cancer surgery), making the decision on which treatment to have is an important one. Take your time and ask your doctor or care team any questions you need.
It might also be helpful to seek counseling support during your decision-making and recovery process.

Here are some commonly asked questions about prostate cancer surgery

Some doctors recommend stopping aspirin (or other blood thinners) 7 days before surgery. Check with your doctor, as this recommendation may vary.

Stopping NSAIDs 7 to 10 days before surgery is recommended but check with your doctor first.

The availability of NSAIDs and the brand names they are sold under can vary depending on where you live. Here are some examples of NSAIDs and their various brand names (which can be different depending on where you live).

    Examples of NSAIDs include:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nurofen, Brufen).

  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Inza, Proxen, Stirlescent, Vimovo).

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex).

Some supplements, herbs, and over-the-counter medications could result in bleeding during surgery. Inform your doctor about all the medications you’re taking and do not take any vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medications in the 10 days before surgery, unless approved by your surgeon.

Most people can go home 1 to 2 days after surgery, but it depends on what type of surgery (laparoscopic or open) you had and how well you’re recovering. You’ll also be sent home with a catheter, to help drain your urine. The catheter will be removed when you visit your doctor, usually 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

Usually about 6 weeks after surgery.

Yes! Exercising and slowly building your strength back up will be a priority.

No matter how active and fit you were before surgery, you’ll probably feel low on energy and be limited in activity afterwards. To return to normal activity, you’ll need to follow a sensible exercise program, adapted to your level of health and fitness by your doctor or care team.

Linking in with a registered exercise physiologist or pelvic floor physiotherapist, who puts together personalized exercise programs, can be helpful to make sure you’re doing the right exercises at the right time.

Speak to your care team about a referral or look for a registered exercise physiologist online.

Realistically, it will be about 6 to 8 weeks before you are back to the stamina and strength you had before surgery. However, you’ll be surprised at how starting a basic exercise program helps you feel good in just a few weeks.

So you’re not surprised—you’ll be asked to get up and move around very soon after surgery. By the late afternoon or early evening following surgery, a nurse will assist you in getting up at the side of your bed or into a chair. This is the first form of exercise that you will perform on the road to recovery, so your understanding and participation is important.

To stand, you will need someone to support you under your arm. With a nurse’s help, stand and walk to a chair. As you get more comfortable you might take longer walks, like down the hallway. During your hospital stay, you should plan on walking a short distance several times a day.

Getting back into an exercise groove can do wonders for your health—but don’t overdo it. When you push too hard, you’re more likely to feel weak, dizzy, flushed, and sick in the stomach. This can make it hard to stay on top of your other priorities.

When getting back into exercising, you may experience more urine (pee) leaking than before. If the leaking gets worse while exercising, it’s a sign that the exercise may be too vigorous. You may need to cut back or try a different exercise.

    You might also notice:

  • Getting tired or fatigued more easily.

  • Pain in the area your doctor made cuts for surgery.

  • Discomfort, warmth, or pulling down in the pelvic area.

  • Blood in your urine.

When you exercise, try to stop and rest before these symptoms become too severe. Being sensible and doing several shorter periods of exercise rather than longer ones is better.

While you’re still in the hospital, your doctor or care team will want you to stretch and stay active. It’s important to listen to your body, so start off gently. If you feel pulling or it hurts, STOP.

Always check with your doctor or care team before starting any activities. The list below is general guidance on what may work for some men, but not all.

  • Walking—you should aim to be walking the day after surgery.

  • Walking up stairs—you can walk up the stairs in your home but do not use this as exercise (for 6 weeks).

  • Treadmill—level treadmill is usually OK (keeping a walking pace).

  • Golf—you can probably do some putting only, in the first 6 weeks.

  • Bicycle or motorcycle riding—you should be able to get started again about 3 months after surgery. Some men can start again as early as 6 weeks, but this depends on their pain level and doctor’s advice.

  • Horseback riding—you should be able to get started again about 3 months after surgery.

  • Lifting—anything over 10 pounds (4.5 kg) might put too much stress on your body. Your doctor may advise you to wait about 6 weeks.