Cryotherapy For Prostate Cancer

July 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer, the malignancy of the cells of the prostate gland is a condition that is not easily cured partly because its exact cause is not known, and also because the way it manifests itself in different patients differs rather widely from time to time. However, due to constantly ongoing researches, results have started to emerge that show that all cancer cells ? all cells actually ? respond to cold the same way, especially extreme cold.

Cryotherapy or cryosurgery is a relatively new technique for intervening for prostate cancer patients. It is basically a surgical procedure, but one that is different in that only two metallic rods are inserted into the tumor infested prostate organ through relatively tiny incisions that are made in the perineum. It is rather delicate to do this accurately, but one Dr. Gary Onik has made it easier by introducing the convenience of ultrasound guidance.

The cold basically does the rest. Using highly purified argon gas, all the heat is drawn from the prostate through the metallic rods until the temperature is a low as three hundred and two degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, all the water in the cells first freezes and then crystallizes, causing the cells to die in the process.

The main problem with this technique is that the freezing cold does not discriminate between the abnormal cells of prostate cancer, but attacks all the cells in the region. In essence, even if it was only a part of the prostate that was infected, the entire prostate is destroyed. To protect the urethra, a catheter filled with warm liquid is used to envelope the tube.

Cryotherapy is less invasive than radical prostatectomy, and general anesthesia is less commonly used for the procedure. The operation is on record as causing a lot fewer problems with urinary control than virtually every other treatment that there is. As a matter of fact, when used as the first therapy for a patient with prostate cancer, cryotherapy offers a 10-year biochemical disease free rate superior to all other treatments including radical prostatectomy and any form of radiation. And for the instances in which surgery is required as a back up or follows up to radiation treatment, cryosurgery has also been demonstrated to be superior on all counts.

However, there is also the problem of impotence, which occurs up to ninety percent of the time. This being totally unacceptable for a treatment that is meant to be better, researcher are back hard at work to find a way to turn this last fact around.

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