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What are the pros and cons of prostate surgery vs radiation?

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Quick Answer

Some pros of both radiation and prostate surgery are that they are procedures used when cancer has not spread outside the prostate gland, as stated in U.S. News and World Report. Some pros and cons of radiation are that no incisions or hospital stays are required, but multiple treatments are necessary if the procedure used is external beam radiation. Some pros and cons of surgery are that there is a high cancer cure rate with this procedure, but urinary incontinence is a possibility after surgery.

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Although there is a risk of sexual dysfunction with either surgery or radiation, the problem tends to develop very soon after surgery. However, sexual dysfunction associated with radiation treatments occurs gradually during the course of treatment, as noted by the Washington University Physicians of Washington University School of Medicine.

In terms of problems with bowel movements, a pro of prostatectomy is that there are no problems with frequent bowel movements that are associated with the two different forms of radiation procedures, which are brachytherapy (radioactive seed implants) and external beam radiation. However, a pro of external beam radiation is that the problem of urinary incontinence is not as common with this procedure.

A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate gland. Although robotic prostatectomy is very often the surgical technique used, there are cons associated with it, such as there is a hospital stay of up to two days required and the use of a catheter after discharge is necessary for up to seven day. With external beam radiation, this does not occur, but a patient may need up to 40 treatments over a period of 6 to 8 weeks, as noted by Robotic Oncology.

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