Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I am a 69 year-old male in reasonably good health. I have just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, stage 1c. I have been looking at either radiation treatment or surgery. My urologist is suggesting surgery only because I also have prostatitis. I don't see how surgery will help me with my prostatitis. Can you assist me in making my decision?
Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:
If you are experiencing troublesome urinary symptoms that are due to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), then a total prostatectomy should relieve these symptoms because there will be no more prostate tissue left to be inflamed. If your cancer is localized, it should also stand an excellent chance of cure with surgery. However, there are certain risks with surgery, both general and specific, which you would need to understand and accept. You should have a thorough discussion of these potential risks with a surgeon, as well as a thorough discussion of the radiotherapy alternatives with a radiation oncologist.