Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Cryosurgery for prostate cancer was first used in the early 1990s.
Cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy, involves using excessive cold to damage the abnormal cells; this sub-zero temperature is produced by liquid nitrogen or argon gas.
Generally, cryosurgery is used for treatment of external tumors, like skin cancers, as well as tumors inside the body, like tumors of the internal organs or bone. For treatment of prostate cancers, the goal of using cryosurgery is to destroy the prostate cancer through freezing the prostate gland.
Actually, your doctor will recommend you with cryosurgery if your cancer is at early stages, and still confined to your prostate. This treatment:
• is your treatment of choice in case you don’t like to undergo any surgical or radiation treatments;
• is the treatment of choice in cases when you can’t receive other treatments due to various factors (age or any other medical conditions you might have).
• It usually involves less bleeding, pain and other surgical complications.
• Less expensive than other prostate cancer treatments
• Recovery period after cryosurgery is minimal, and it requires no or short hospitalization
• In some cases, cryosurgery can be done with local anesthesia only.
• Also, cryosurgery can be used as secondary treatment along with other prostate cancer standard treatments, like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery or radiotherapy. Most doctors use cryosurgery to treat inoperable cancers or those which don’t respond to other treatments.
Unfortunately, sometimes after receiving this treatment, you might suffer from some side effects. Usually they are temporary and they occur mostly if you are already receiving radiation therapy. The most probable side effects include :
• obstruction of urinary flow,
• incontinence (loss of the ability to control urinary flow), • impotence (loss of sexual ability)
• and rarely, the cryosurgery procedures can injury the rectum.
The technique of is very simple.
According to National Cancer Institute, the studies of long-term effectiveness of cryosurgery for prostate cancer needs to be more evaluated, as data applied from such studies are still limited.
These studies can help doctors to determine the value of preferring cryosurgery over other prostate cancer treatments. Generally, the last 10-years data collection reveals that the safety and durable efficiency of cryotherapy for prostate cancer is promising, and except for impotence, the side effects and morbidity after cryosurgery are minimal when compared to other prostate cancer treatments.