For men suffering from prostate cancer looking for less invasive alternatives to treatment, cryotherapy is believed to have many advantages over more invasive surgery and radiation therapy. It’s newer than other treatments, but technological advances have reduced the side effects. Older men and those with conditions such as heart and lung disease and diabetes can benefit the most from cryotherapy, considering it’s less invasive and doesn’t require surgical removal of the prostate gland. However, how do you know if it’s right for you? After undergoing your prostate cancer test, you might be wondering about your options for treatment. The following gives you some information about cryotherapy for prostate cancer, so you can decide if it’s the right option for you.
How It Works
Cryotherapy works by using extreme cold that freezes cancerous prostate tissue, causing the malign cells to die off. It’s a localized procedure, which means the treatment is focused on one affected area, and not any others in the rest of the body. It’s performed with an epidural or spinal tap, rather than general anesthesia, and a freezing sensation as it is passed down into the prostate to freeze and kill cancerous cells.
When Is It Recommended?
Your doctor might recommend cryotherapy at different prostate cancer stages. It can be recommended as a primary treatment at early stages of prostate cancer. It can also be used after radiation therapy to stop the growth of any returning malign cancer cells. It’s not recommended for men with normal sexual function and have had previous surgery for rectal or anal cancer. If you’ve developed a large tumor, cryotherapy cannot be used as it can damage surrounding tissue and organs.
The major benefits of undergoing cryotherapy include a shorter recovery period, less blood loss, and minimal swelling.
The risks and side effects associated with cryotherapy are as follows:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bloody urine
- Infection in the treatment area
- Pain in scrotum and penis, also while urinating
- In rare cases, rectal injury and urethra blockage