Radiation vs. Surgery for Prostate Cancer

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  1. Radical prostatectomy, it is a surgery to remove the prostate gland. It can help cure the disease when the cancerous cells have not spread beyond the prostate gland.
  2. Orchidectomy, a kind of surgery to remove the testicles. It’s thought that testosterone can make the cancerous cells in the prostate grow. This male hormone is made in the testicles. The testicles removal can stop the production of testosterone. But orchidectomy is now rarely used. Today, doctors tend to choose using hormone therapy to reduce or stop testosterone production.
  3. TUR (Trans-urethral resection), it is a surgery to remove the inner part of the prostate. It is commonly used to treat some symptoms of prostate cancer, particularly such as inability to pass urine.

Radiation (radiotherapy) vs. surgery

Currently, the decision of using between radiotherapy and surgery for men with prostate cancer is overwhelming. Unfortunately, not all patients can take surgical treatment options. For this reason, radiotherapy is slightly more common choice.

Each case can be unique, but you are more likely to be suggested to take surgery if:

  1. The surgery can help remove all of the cancerous cells effectively.
  2. At young age. The cancer tends to return in young patients than in elderly patients. For this reason, surgical treatment option is more recommended since it can work more effectively in eliminating the risk of cancer to come back.
  3. There is no another health condition that would add to the risks of major-surgical treatment.

And for radiation therapy, it might be more recommended if:

  1. You cannot take surgery due certain condition, such as if you have any health condition that makes surgical-treatment option too risky.
  2. You have had problems of bowel movement, bladder control, or /and ED (the dysfunction of erection).

As mentioned before, the effectiveness of surgery and radiation therapy for treating prostate cancer is almost equal. But the side effects of each treatment are different.

For instance, patients who took radiation therapy were more likely to have bladder pain and increased frequency of urge to pass urine, especially those who had brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). And those who took surgery, they were more likely to experience urine incontinence (urine leakage).

But overall, there are some evidences that surgery (such as radical prostatectomy) might provide a better outcome than the use of radiation, though each treatment can pose the risk of both short term and long term side effects.

Your doctor should discuss with you about the drawbacks and side effects of each treatment before making a decision. Overall, when the treatment for prostate cancer is immediately necessary, the decision of using certain treatment should outweigh the risk of side effects.


  1. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/prostate-cancer/treatment/types/treatment-options-for-prostate-cancer


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