Table of Contents:
- How is cryotherapy done?
- How does cryotherapy destroy prostate cancer?
- Are there advantages to using cryotherapy for prostate cancer?
- What are the risks of cryotherapy for prostate cancer treatment?
Cryotherapy is a treatment that uses remarkably cold temperature to freeze and destroy cancer tissue in the prostate. Cryotherapy as a treatment for prostate cancer has only few long-term studies.
The prostate gland is located along the bottom of a man’s bladder and the first inch of the urethra, or urinary tube. It is essential for the male reproduction. Seminal fluid is generated by the prostate gland. Semen is formed when said fluid mixes with sperm.
The prostate is often the subject of several complications as a man ages. Prostate cancer is one of them. Factually, more than 175,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Behind non-melanoma skin cancer, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men.
Prostate cancer recurrence affects 30% to 40% of men, even though they receive early intervention and conventional treatment. This indicates that they will require further treatment. Cryotherapy can be an alternative for treating recurrent prostate cancer, according to some experts, particularly if initial radiation therapy fails to exterminate cancer cells sufficiently.
How is cryotherapy done?
An ultra-thin metal probe or needle is implanted into the prostate gland during cryotherapy. This is accomplished by making an incision between the anus and the scrotum. A warm saline solution streams through a catheter to shield the urethra from the procedure’s cold temperatures.
During the process, the surgeon utilises ultrasound-generated visual information as a guide. Through the probe, a freezing liquid, such as liquid nitrogen or, more frequently, argon gas, is infused into the prostate gland. The intense cold destroys any cancerous tissue in the prostate by freezing it. The surgeon can minimise damage to normal prostate tissue through the use of ultrasound images to detect cancer tissue.
How does cryotherapy destroy prostate cancer?
Extreme cold cannot be endured by any living tissue, regardless if it’s healthy or unhealthy. The heat from the prostate gland is rapidly extracted by infusing nitrogen or argon gas into the prostate gland. There is an immediate swell of ice crystals or ice balls as heat is forced out. Cell membranes are ruptured as a consequence of this. After , tissue damage occurs, followed by cell death.
White blood cells clear up the dead cells and tissue after cancer cells are killed. According to certain studies, the immune system demolishes any remaining cancer cells during this process.
Are there advantages to using cryotherapy for prostate cancer?
Cryotherapy and prostate cancer have a few long-term investigations. However, some experts believe that cryotherapy provides a level of benefits over surgery and radiation. These benefits can be more evident in people with early-stage or acute prostate cancer. Cryotherapy, for instance, is a less invasive procedure. Instead of administering general anaesthesia, an epidural or spinal could be applied in this procedure. This factor may assist elderly men who have prostate cancer as it could also be advantageous for men who suffer from diabetes, heart failure, or lung disease.
Cryotherapy also has the following advantages:
- Minimize blood loss
- Shorter hospital stay (usually one or two nights)
- Shorter recovery period
- Less swelling and discomfort compared to standard surgery for prostate cancer
Cryotherapy can be accompanied with other conventional therapies, such as radiation therapy or surgery, if necessary.
A recent study pursued men with prostate cancer for a duration of 10 years. Researchers concluded in that research, stating that cryotherapy may be as efficient as radiation and other common prostate cancer treatments. On the downside, cryotherapy was not explicitly compared to those more established treatments.
What are the risks of cryotherapy for prostate cancer treatment?
Cryotherapy’s effectiveness in combating prostate cancer is yet to be confirmed. According to experts, the freezing liquid would not often destroy all cancer cells. Due to such circumstances, prostate cancer may potentially reoccur.
Additionally, some men are concerned about the possible side effects of cryotherapy for prostate cancer. The following are examples of possible side effects:
- Injury to the urethra and bladder
- Severe infections resulting from the injury
- Urethra experiences obstruction or blockage
Furthermore, the risks of cryotherapy are comparable to other prostate cancer treatments. They are as follows:
- Recurrence of prostate cancer
In the absence of long-term studies, the jury is still out on who should endorse cryotherapy as a treatment for prostate cancer. Cryotherapy, according to some experts, may be the most appropriate treatment for cases of recurrent prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate gland.
Referenced on 10.4.2021
- RadiologyInfo.com: “Cryotherapy."
- American Cancer Society: “Recurrent Prostate Cancer: Cryosurgery Offers ‘Curative’ Treatment."
- Prostate Cancer Institute: “Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer."
- National Cancer Institute: “Prostate Cancer – Cancer Stat Facts."