Prostate Cancer


During surgery a small tube or catheter is put into the bladder through the penis so that urine can be drained into a collecting bag. This is usually done while the patient is anesthetised, so nothing is felt at that stage. To prevent blood clots blocking the catheter, bladder irrigation may also be used.

After a transurethral resection the catheter is usually removed before the patient goes home from hospital. After a radical prostatectomy the catheter is usually left in place for one to two weeks, to allow the bladder and urethra to heal. Men who have a radical prostatectomy usually manage their catheters at home for a while and then return to hospital to have them removed. 

During brachytherapy men may have a catheter while the radioactive seeds are being implanted. The catheter is removed at the end of the procedure.

Occasionally, men with prostate cancer find they have long term urinary incontinence, so they may have to live with a permanent catheter, which is usually changed every two to three months. For more experiences of living with catheter see our website on 'Living with a urinary catheter'.
Audio onlyText only
Read below

Also see 'Urinary incontinence'.

Last reviewed July 2017.

Last updated March 2015.



Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email