According to Miami urologist Dr. George Suarez, a treatment that destroys tumors by turning them into ice is being offered to as an alternative to traditional surgery for prostate cancer. Hopefully this highly accurate technique can help protect more patients against risks associated with full surgical removal of the gland, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Cryotherapy has been used to treat prostate cancer in the past, but the procedure involved freezing the entire gland, including the healthy areas. The procedure – which is performed by your Miami urologist under general anesthetic – involves placing a collection of fine hollow needles into the prostate. Then compressed gas is passed into the needles, leading to rapid cooling to about -40C.
The tissues come in contact with the metal rods freeze, breaking down the walls of the tumor. In order to protect the surrounding tissues, a warm saline solution is passed through a catheter that has been inserted into the urethra. This serves a dual purpose as the catheter remains in place for approximately three weeks to allow the bladder to empty completely during recovery.
The treatment will be available to men who have not responded to radiotherapy or chemotherapy but are unwilling to undergo surgical removal of the prostate. It can also be used as the initial option for newly diagnosed patients who cannot undergo non-invasive therapy that utilizes sound waves to destroy cancer, a procedure that is performed by your Miami urologist known as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).
Whole prostate cryotherapy carries a high risk of impotence, as this often injures the nerves that regulate erections. However the hope is that these focused treatments will help preserve continence and reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
After the tumor is frozen and destroyed, the remains are broken down by the body’s immune system, which then attacks any remaining cancer cells. Some HIFU experts believe the procedure offers several advantages over surgery and radiation, including less blood loss, a shorter recovery period and reduced post-operative swelling and pain. If needed, it can be followed by other conventional therapies, such as radiation therapy or surgery.
Your Miami urologist reports that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with more than 42,000 new cases diagnosed each year. One man dies from the disease every hour, and there are more than 300,000 patients undergoing some form of treatment for tumors in the gland, which is about the size of a walnut and wraps around a man’s urethra.
Most patients who undergo the treatment – which takes approximately two hours – return home the same day.
If you would like more information regarding your risk of prostate cancer or treatment options that are currently available, call the office of HIFU expert and best Miami urologist Dr. George Suarez today to schedule a confidential consultation.