Cryotherapy is a relatively new prostate cancer treatment. Also referred to as Cryosurgery and Cryoablation, Prostate Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive surgery capable of using controlled freeze and thaw cycles to destroy the disease.
Cryotherapy’s Role In The Treatment Of Prostate Cancer
Cryotherapy is relatively new, that is, lacking numerous long-term survival rate studies; therefore, cryotherapy is not used as often as radiation therapy as a primary treatment. Cryotherapy, however, is effective in treating cases of prostate cancer that are radioresistant and recur as a result. Some doctors believe that the use of freezing temperatures rather than stronger doses of radiation therapy is more effective for radioresistant prostate cancer.
Prostate cryotherapy works because as cells freeze, ice crystals form inside and around them. The freezing and thawing processes destroy cells through dehydration, drastic changes in the pH levels, or prevention of the flow of red blood cells. Subjecting the prostate gland to freezing temperatures, specifically negative 40 degrees Celsius, also activates an anti-tumor response in the body. An anti-tumor response begins with the production of anti-bodies that work to eradicate the tumor.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is an effective primary treatment for those who are in the early stages of prostate cancer with low risk for tumor extension. This treatment may also be an excellent alternative for those who are not good candidates for radical prostatectomy. Cryotherapy may be used if EBRT fails and the cancerous prostate cells are deemed radioresistant. Some advantages of include the one day in-hospital treatment, though some patients will stay overnight depending on their general health.
Cryotherapy can also be repeated if it fails to ablate the cancerous tissue during the first round of treatment. Patients for whom treatments fail can also pursue alternatives such as radiation therapy or prostatectomy. Because cryotherapy is minimally invasive, patients experience only minimal, if any, blood loss. One disadvantage is that the long-term data on cryotherapy is limited, due to its newness as mainstream prostate cancer treatment.