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Diseases & Conditions

Follow-Up Care After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Please note: These are general guidelines and may not apply to every patient. Always follow your doctor's specific instructions for care after treatment.

Incision care

Small pieces of tape (called Steri-Strips™) will remain over the incision site and may be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. The incision should be kept clean and dry for 1 week after surgery. Take sponge baths instead of showers. Your doctor may tell you that you can shower after the JP drain comes out with Steri-Strips intact along the surgical incision. You can soap around the incision/Steri-Strips, then rinse the area, and pat dry. No tub bathing is recommended until wounds completely heal with scar. This usually occurs after the Steri-Strips fall off the surgical incision. By then, the drain wound is usually healed too.

Do not go swimming until you have discussed this with your doctor at your follow-up appointment.

Pain relief

You will be given a prescription for pain relief after the procedure. Instead, you may take Extra Strength Tylenol® if that provides sufficient relief. Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin for the first 3 days after the procedure. In addition to the Extra Strength Tylenol, your doctor may also say that you may take over-the-counter Aleve® or Advil® once discharged from the hospital if you do not want to take prescription pain medication.

Skin care

The area may be black and blue right after the procedure. This will go away in a few days. You may feel numbness, tingling, or discomfort. This is normal. Try to increase your exercise routine and take a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol. A warm shower may also provide comfort, but remember to wait 1 week after surgery before taking a shower. Regarding exercise: we tell our patients to avoid physically strenuous activity for 4 weeks post-op. We do encourage light duty activity (walking, lifting up to 10 lbs) for the first four weeks to promote healing/recovery. Telling patients to increase their exercise routine may lead some patients to participate in physically strenuous activity which is something we do not encourage this early on.

Regarding bathing/skin care: I tell my patients that as long as their drains have been removed at time of hospital discharge, they can shower. They do not have to wait until they are 1 week post-op.

Exercise

Consult your doctor before resuming any physical activity. However, light-duty activity (walking, lifting up to 10 pounds) is encouraged for the first four weeks to promote healing and recovery. You can take a mild pain reliever like Tylenol if needed. A warm shower may also provide comfort if you are told that you can shower. Avoid physically strenuous activity for 4 weeks post-op. However, you must avoid physically strenuous activity early on.

Driving

Most men can resume driving 10 to 14 days after surgery. Ask your doctor for specific recommendations.

Sexual relations

Your doctor will let you know when you can resume sexual relations.

When to call the doctor

When you go home from the hospital after prostate cancer treatment, call your doctor if you have:

  • A fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Increasing pain that is unable to be controlled with pain medication
  • Difficulty urinating

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 8/4/2009…#8639