Before going ahead with prostate cancer surgery, there are certain questions you need to ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the surgery; don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important your doctor explains the common risks and benefits, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
- Are there alternatives to this surgery?
- What type of prostate cancer surgery do you recommend and why?
- What surgical technique do you intend to use?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with this surgery?
- Will I need additional treatment?
- Could the surgery affect my fertility?
- What happens during and after the surgery?
- How long will I be in hospital?
- Is surgery really needed at this time or can it wait?
- What are the risks if I delay it?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’) Learn about the costs
- Will there be an additional fee for an assistant surgeon? If so, what will it be?
- If your surgeon recommends robotic surgery, be sure to ask about additional out-of-pocket expenses.
- How should I prepare for my surgery?
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- Can I meet with my anaesthetist before surgery?
Your urologist’s skills
- How many prostate cancer surgeries do you perform each year?
- What percentage of your patients are satisfied with the results of the prostate cancer surgeries you perform?
- What’s your complication rate for this surgery?
- What percentage of your patients have incontinence or impotence after this surgery?
- How soon can I drive, go back to work or travel?
- Are there restrictions on what activities I can do, such as showering, swimming, lifting or having sex?
- Follow-up appointments (write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your urologist).
Tell your doctor if you have any skin lesions, sores, cuts, or a raised temperature, as they’ll need to be treated before your surgery.
Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with your surgery. Your doctor will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it. Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.
Print out this page to take to your appointment with your urologist.