Prostate cancer is a malignant disease of the male reproductive system. It affects the prostate gland and occurs when its cells start to grow out of control. The prostate is found below men’s bladder, near the rectum and around the urethra, and this type of cancer causes symptoms like urinary problems including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often especially at night, blood in the urine, erectile dysfunction, pain in the hips, back, chest or other areas from cancer spread to bones, and weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.
Surgery is one of the treatment options for patients with prostate cancer. The most common type of surgical procedure for the disease is called radical prostatectomy, which consists of the removal of the entire prostate gland as well as some of the tissue around it. However, in certain cases, other types of surgery may be recommended. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is usually used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), but it may be used in prostate cancer patients to relieve urinary symptoms of the disease.
TURP Surgical Procedure
A TURP surgery is used to remove the interior part of the prostate gland using electricity to decrease the pressure. The surgeon starts by inserting a scope through the urethra, the tube that transports urine from the bladder and out of the penis. The scope has a tiny camera and an eyepiece in it to increase visibility. A cutting tool is then placed through the scope and used to remove the inside of the prostate gland. The blockage in the prostate is removed using electricity. The procedure takes about an hour.
Patients do not feel any pain since they are either asleep under general anesthesia or awake but relaxed and pain-free under spinal anesthesia. After the TURP, patients remain with a small tube called a Foley catheter inserted into the bladder to remove urine, which will seem bloody during the first days. During the first night, it is important that patients stay in bed, but after that, patients are asked to move around as much as possible, while the health care team will help change positions, as well as teach exercises to keep blood flowing and coughing and deep breathing techniques. Patients need to stay in the hospital for one to three days, which is the same time that they need to remain with the catheter.
Risks and Benefits of TURP
TURP is known to be helpful in the relief of symptoms associated with diseases of the prostate. In the case of prostate cancer, it may be recommended for patients who have difficulties in passing urine, fully emptying their bladder or other urinary problems. This may result from a tumor pressing the urethra. Despite not curing cancer, patients may experience fewer symptoms and improve their quality of life, which is why it is an option as palliative care.
Like any other surgery, there are risks associated with TURP, which include blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs, breathing problems, infection in the surgical wound, lungs (pneumonia), or bladder or kidney, blood loss, heart attack or stroke during surgery, and allergic reactions to medication. In addition, there are other problems that may occur as side effects of a TURP. These are problems controling urine, loss of sperm fertility, erectile dysfunction, passing semen into the bladder instead of out through the urethra (retrograde ejaculation), tightening of the urinary outlet from scar tissue (urethral stricture), transurethral resection (TUR) syndrome (water buildup during surgery), or damage to internal organs and structures.
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