Prostate Cancer

Trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP)

Sometimes a tumour presses on the urethra (the tube between the bladder and the outside) and prevents the passage of urine. Surgery can be carried out to relieve symptoms (TURP). An instrument is placed down the penis, which cuts away the prostate tissue from inside the urethra. This may be done under general anaesthetic or by injecting anaesthetic directly into the spinal column, an epidural anaesthetic. This form of surgery is not intended to remove cancerous tissue, but is a procedure to relieve the symptoms of slow urine flow and urine retention.

Men who do not have cancer also have TURP operations to relieve urinary problems. Confusion sometimes arises, for example one man who had this operation thought that he had undergone surgery to cure his cancer, and he was clearly upset when he discovered that this was not the case. Usually men said that their symptoms were much better after their TURP operations and they spoke positively about their experiences.


However, one man, who had had two trans-urethral resections some years apart in the same hospital, complained that conditions on the ward had deteriorated as far as food, hygiene, cleanliness and nursing care were concerned.

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Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated March 2015.

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