Prostate Cancer and Cryotherapy Treatment

Cryo- freeze over. It’s a Greek term that generally means freezing someone or something up to extreme temperatures – extremely low (cold) temperature. Cryosurgery in the treatment of cancers is one such procedure, and one that is making impressive waves in the medical community today as you read. It has been a while since improved treatments for prostate cancer have been sought due to the shortcomings of the previous existing interventions for prostate cancer. You may therefore think of cryosurgery as the ultimate result of that quest.

Prostate cancer is a disease that is highly treatable and even curable when treated in the early stages of the disease. The challenge that specialists face with intervening for prostate cancer patients is that there are several side effects and consequences of these treatments that are not desired. Time spent in hospital for the treatment, recovery time back at home, duration before being able to return to the office, the invasiveness of the procedure, the presence of scars, impotence, and the loss of blood, are only a few of these consequences.

Cryosurgery (or cryotherapy, or cryoablation) generally answers several of these questions with a relative ease that bellies the risks and complicatedness of the procedure. Cryosurgery is less invasive than radical prostatectomy, and during the process general anesthesia is less commonly used.

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During the process metal rods have to be inserted into the prostate gland through the perineum under ultrasound guidance. Argon gas in a highly purified state is applied to the metal rod to cool them down to as -302oF, freezing the surrounding tissue at that temperature. The water within the organs cells freezes, and then the cells die. Because of the risk to other organs or tissues in the region, a catheter of warm liquid is inserted as well, especially around the urethra, protecting them from the freeze.

In addition to the previous merits of cryosurgery mentioned, it also causes fewer problems with urinary control than more or less all of the other treatments even though impotence has been known to occur up to ninety percent of the time. This is not much worse than several of the other remedies for prostate cancer that there are – it is even better in several instances – but it still is unacceptable, which is why there is still so much research concerning the remedy as they try to perfect it.

Nonetheless, in the meantime, as the initial treatment for early stage prostate cancer and in the hands of an knowledgeable cryosurgeon, the technique has been known to produce a 10 year survival rate that is superior to all other treatments; plus, it is demonstrated to be superior to radical prostatectomy for recurrent cancer following radiation therapy.

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