Hormone therapy is the best method used to treat advanced prostate cancer. The surgical removal of one or both of the testicles or testes is called orchidectomy. The removal of both the testicles is called bilateral orchidectomy. It is also done to treat cancer of the testicles. It lowers the amount of testosterone which is the primary male hormone. Testosterone causes the cancerous cells to grow and multiply rapidly. The removal of the testicles stops the production of testosterone and hence prevents the further growth of cancer cells. This process is called castration because the person is no longer to reproduce. Hence people usually prefer to use drugs that inhibit the level of production of testosterone, and surgery is largely a last choice for many.
The patients are advised to stop using aspirin or other pain relieving medications at least one week before surgery. Standard blood and urine tests are conducted before surgery. Just as in any other surgery, the patient is given general anesthetics; the penis is taped against the abdomen. An incision is made in the middle of scrotum; the sac containing testicles. The testicle covering is also cut so as to expose the testis and spermatic cord. After the cord has been tied and cut; the testicles are removed. A prosthetic incision is inserted so as to give the appearance of a normal scrotum. The wounds are repaired and sutured.
After surgery, the patients can resume normal activities the following day itself. It is common to have some swelling and pain which will subside eventually. Extra fluids should be taken regularly and all heavy physical exercises etc are to be avoided. A jockstrap or snug brief will have to be worn for two weeks so as to support the scrotum. Applying ice pack to the groin area will ease the swelling. There are some side effects such as loss of sexual desire, depression, loss of sensation, abnormal weight gain etc which can be treated with hormone injections. In spite of all this, after an orchidectomy the patients get rapid relief from cancer symptoms.