Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer
What is Cryotherapy ?
Cryotherapy, or cryoblation, for prostate cancer is the controlled freezing of the prostate gland. The freezing process kills cancer cells. This type of treatment is still under study, so it is not yet widely offered. During cryotherapy, your doctor will use an ultrasound to place small needles into the prostate. A cold gas is delivered through these needles. This causes the prostate, tumor and nearby tissue to freeze. The tissue will be frozen then thawed a few times to kill the cancer cells. Cryotherapy is done under either local or general anesthesia. Due to recent advances, the method has become more useful as an outpatient treatment.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Cryotherapy may be a good choice for: • Men with cancer that is confined to the prostate gland • Men who are not good candidates for surgery or radiotherapy because of other health issues • Men who have been treated before with another form of care and who have recurrent prostate cancer, found only in the prostate
Should I Choose Cryotherapy?
Choosing the right treatment for prostate cancer is a personal choice. Patients should make this choice with their doctor and family. It should be made with the knowledge of side effects, costs, and quality of life goals.
What are the Side Effects of Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy has been found to have minor side effects that are mostly temporary. A patient may have incontinence and other urinary or bowel problems at first. Like other surgeries, erectile dysfunction is likely, as is pelvic pain. Though it’s rare, there is the risk of a fistula. A fistula is a channel that forms after surgery between the urethra and the rectum. This may cause diarrhea or bladder infections. It can be treated when found.
After cryotherapy, a patient is most often discharged with a small tube to drain urine (foley catheter). It is removed once the prostate swelling has gone down (some days to weeks). After cryotherapy, a patient is checked with routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and biopsy. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for you.
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