Cancer Recurrence

Despite the fact that initial prostate cancer treatments may be effective in getting rid of prostate cancer, patients should understand their treatment and surgical options if the cancer returns (reoccurrence).

Recurrence After Surgery1

Patients typically have more options to treat a recurrence of prostate cancer if their cancer was first removed with surgery (prostatectomy). If prostate cancer returns after surgery, patients may still receive radiation therapy, sometimes along with hormone therapy.

Recurrence After Radiation1

If you first received radiation to treat prostate cancer, surgery may not be an option if the cancer returns since there is a higher risk of side effects. Repeating radiation therapy is also not a common option because of the risk of side effects.

Surgery performed after radiation treatment for prostate cancer is often referred to as a salvage prostatectomy. A salvage prostatectomy is a more difficult operation to perform than a prostatectomy performed before any radiation treatment. Radiation may cause damage to surrounding tissues which makes a careful dissection of important tissues and structures difficult.

Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of all treatment and surgical options, as well as your options if cancer returns.

  1. American Cancer Society. “Cancer that remains or recurs after treatment.” Available from:

PN 1003344 Rev A 08/2013

Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci® Surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious or life-threatening complications, which may require prolonged and/or unexpected hospitalization and/or reoperation, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: injury to tissues/organs, bleeding, infection and internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction/pain. Risks of surgery also include the potential for equipment failure and/or human error. Individual surgical results may vary.

Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: temporary pain/nerve injury associated with positioning; temporary pain/discomfort from the use of air or gas in the procedure; a longer operation and time under anesthesia and conversion to another surgical technique. If your doctor needs to convert the surgery to another surgical technique, this could result in a longer operative time, additional time under anesthesia, additional or larger incisions and/or increased complications.

Patients who are not candidates for non-robotic minimally invasive surgery are also not candidates for da Vinci® Surgery. Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision. For Important Safety Information, including surgical risks, indications, and considerations and contraindications for use, please also refer to and Unless otherwise noted, all people depicted are models.

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