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Prostate Cancer

Why Would Testes be Removed for a Prostate Cancer Patient

06/22/2006

Question:

My father has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is at stage 2 (not sure what this stage means) but has been advised to be operated to remove his testicles.

1. What does this really mean and how severe is the condition?

2. Why are the testicles being removed and not the prostate?

Answer:

Testosterone, which is mainly released from the testicles, acts to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. One way to manage prostate cancer, is to block testosterone production. This can be done with injections with or without pills. Another way to block the testosterone as a source of stimulation of the prostate cancer is to remove the main source of testosterone which is the testicles. This is why removal of the testicles may be offered. However, it is not the only way to block the testosterone. This is not a curative treatment of the prostate cancer, however, it helps "stunt the growth" of the prostate cancer.

For more information:

Go to the Prostate Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lee E Ponsky, MD Lee E Ponsky, MD
Associate Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University