Getting back to normal

Going back to work

Most men get back to normal a few weeks after the prostate surgery and you should be able to return to work within six to eight weeks. This will depend on the physical demands of your job. Take your doctor's advice about when you are ready. You might find it helpful to keep in touch with your employer, so that you can make any arrangements about your return in advance.

Driving

Most men are able to drive a car four weeks after surgery. Avoid long journeys for the first two weeks after a catheterA tube used either to drain fluid from the body or to introduce fluid into the body. is removed to help you gain the confidence to deal with incontinenceThe involuntary passage of urine or faeces. problems.

Sex

It is not advisable to have full penetrative sex in the weeks following surgery because the wound site will not have fully healed. Most doctors advise that you abstain for at least eight weeks, but that doesn't mean that you can't resume sex play. Massages are fine, as well as pleasuring your partner.

Your doctor may recommend medication to help you gain erections as early as four weeks after surgery.

Diet

After an operation on the prostate, it is important to avoid constipation and straining to empty your bowels. Eating plenty of fresh and dried fruit, fresh vegetables, wholemeal bread and high-fibre breakfast cereals will help.

Whatever type of treatment you have received, eating healthily can help improve your overall health and quality of life.

Follow-up

When you have had treatment, you will still need regular check-ups by your doctor or at the hospital. This is because, in some cases, the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. can return, even if treatment is initially successful.

Take the opportunity to discuss any problems or issues you have. These may include incontinenceThe involuntary passage of urine or faeces. and problems with erections, or any other side effects of treatments.

Immediately after your treatment has ended, your doctor will want to see you regularly. Once all seems to be going well, you will need to be seen less often.

At these appointments, you will probably have your levels of prostate-specific antigenAn enzyme that is produced by the prostate, a gland that surrounds the urethra near the bladder. High levels are present in the blood when the prostate gland is enlarged or inflamed. (PSA) monitored. PSA levels should drop following radical treatment where the prostate was removed. However, if they rise, you may need further treatment.