Cryotherapy for prostate cancer: benefits, risks and more

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Cryotherapy is a promising new treatment option for prostate cancer. During the procedure, a doctor freezes prostate tissue at extremely low temperatures. This causes cancer cells to die.

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the The most common cancer in the male population. Doctors diagnose nearly 250,000 new cases each year in the United States.

More traditional treatment approaches, such as radiation therapy and surgery to remove the prostate, have various negative effects that can affect sexual function and quality of life.

However, because cryotherapy is minimally invasive and causes fewer problems in the long term, doctors may recommend it to treat prostate cancer at an early stage.

This article examines cryotherapy for prostate cancer, including its benefits and risks. He is also exploring some alternative prostate cancer treatment options.

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This technique involves applying extreme cold via one or more needle cryoprobes to destroy diseased tissue, including cancer cells. A series of stages of freezing and thawing the tumors allows their destruction.

Cryotherapy involves using cold temperatures freeze and destroy tissue affected by cancer. The procedure is also known as cryoablation or cryosurgery. It uses liquid nitrogen, liquid nitrous oxide or gaseous argon to reach the freezing temperature required for processing.

Cryotherapy can help treat skin conditions and relieve pain and inflammation. In addition, cryotherapy may be effective in bone, cervical, liver and prostate cancer.

In prostate cancer, doctors use cryotherapy as minimally invasive procedure to target either the entire prostate or specific parts of the prostate.

Using ultrasound technology, a doctor inserts small probes called cryoneedles into the prostate and special needles to check the temperature. They then insert cold gas that freezes and damages the prostate, killing cancer cells and helping to prevent disease progression.

Because the procedure is less invasive than traditional therapies, people generally experience less pain and shorter hospital stays.

There have been few comparative trials comparing cryotherapy to traditional therapies for prostate cancer.

However, a 2010 study evaluated 244 people receiving external beam radiation therapy (TEB) versus cryotherapy. The study analyzed the effects of each treatment in terms of disease progression and found a slight difference between the two treatment groups, noting significantly fewer positive biopsies after cryoablation than after radiotherapy.

A Study 2020 compared cryotherapy to surgery. Although surgery had the best tumor control, cryotherapy was beneficial in the low risk groups. In these people, cryotherapy had reasonable tumor control and caused minimal side effects.

These results suggest that cryotherapy is an effective treatment option for certain types of prostate cancer.

The American Urological Association publishes guidelines with recommendations for the treatment of prostate cancer. The guidelines recommend cryotherapy for people with low or intermediate risk prostate cancer.

Oncologists can use cryotherapy:

  • in prostate cancer that has not spread outside the prostate to cure the cancer
  • in prostate cancer that has spread to help reduce symptoms
  • in prostate cancer that has not responded to other therapies
  • in people who cannot have surgery or radiation therapy

Cryotherapy may be an appropriate option for some people because it is minimally invasive and effective in specific individuals. The following sections examine some of the benefits in more detail.

A little intrusive

Other procedures, such as surgery and radiation therapy, are complex and complex. They can include preparation, hospital stays, side effects, and post-operative complications.

Cryotherapy usually has less side effects and requires a shorter recovery time.

Efficiency

Although cryotherapy requires more research, it appears that the procedure is very effective for some people.

A 2010 study evaluated the effectiveness of treatments in localized prostate cancer. He found minor differences in disease progression with cryotherapy compared to radiation therapy.

However, a Study 2020 found no difference in cancer-related deaths between cryotherapy and prostatectomy.

As with any procedure, cryotherapy carries some potential risks.

Cryotherapy can cause short term side effects, such as:

Some long-term side effects of cryotherapy include:

  • difficulty urinating
  • erectile dysfunction
  • a hole developing between the urinary tract and the rectum
  • narrowing of the urinary tract
  • removal of dead tissue in the urinary tract

Efficiency

While cryotherapy may be effective for some people, it is not an ideal treatment option for everyone. For this reason, guidelines recommend cryotherapy only for people with low and medium risk prostate cancer.

Typically, doctors do not recommend cryotherapy for people with progressive disease.

In a 2014 study of 108 people with prostate cancer, cryotherapy was an effective and minimally invasive treatment for well-selected cases of prostate cancer. Additionally, the authors note that biochemical progression-free survival (BPFS) was 96.4% for low-risk participants and 91.2% for medium-risk participants.

BPFS means that the levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), which are often high in people with prostate cancer, remained below a certain level.

Other treatment options are available. The treatment a doctor recommends depends on factors specific to the person, such as how advanced their condition is and how potential side effects might affect them.

People with low-risk prostate cancer are usually under active surveillance or watchful waiting. On the other hand, advanced prostate cancer may require removal of the prostate, called radical prostatectomy, or radiation therapy.

These techniques are well established and effective, but they can have unwanted effects and effects on quality of life. This has led to the development of new treatment options, including cryotherapy.

The sections below discuss active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, and radiation therapy in more detail.

Active surveillance

Active surveillance is a popular option for people with low risk prostate cancer, which can include small tumors and slow growing cancer. It does not involve any procedures or drugs. Instead, a doctor frequently monitors the cancer for any signs of progression.

The doctor checks specific parameters, such as Gleason score and PSA level. If any of these increases increase, it may indicate the need for further treatment. However, if there is no change, the doctor can continue to monitor the progression of the disease.

The reason for suspending medical intervention is that it may prevent the effects of treatment on an individual’s sexual, urinary, or bowel function.

Radical prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the prostate and surrounding tissue. It is a standard treatment option when trying to cure prostate cancer that has not spread.

Surgery removes the entire prostate and surrounding tissue either by open radical prostatectomy or laparoscopy. These procedures differ in technique, potential side effects, and recovery.

Radiotherapy

Uses of radiation therapy high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. There are two main types of radiation therapy: EBRT and brachytherapy.

In EBRT, a radiologist sends radioactive beams directly to a cancerous tumor. Some types of EBRT have precise doses and radiation directions, which reduces damage to healthy tissue and nearby organs.

In brachytherapy, the radiation does not have to pass through other tissues to reach its target. Instead, brachytherapy uses a radioactive substance known as a seed that a doctor implants in or near the cancerous tumor.

Doctors can use EBRT and brachytherapy separately or together for maximum therapeutic effect.

Cryotherapy is the use of cold temperatures to help treat many types of diseases and cancers, including prostate cancer.

Cryotherapy may be an effective option for people with low or intermediate risk prostate cancer.

Doctors may recommend this treatment option because it is minimally invasive and causes few side effects. However, like any procedure, there are certain risks, including tissue damage or problems with the urinary tract.

Other treatment options include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and active monitoring.


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