Cryotherapy [CRY-o-ther-uh-pee] is a prostate cancer treatment that does not involve open surgery or radiation to destroy prostate cancer.
Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys (or ablates [a-BLATES]) cancerous cells by delivering freezing temperatures of minus 40° Celsius to the prostate. This lethal freeze immediately destroys cancerous cells by:
- Causing membrane damage1
- Cutting off the oxygen supply1
Cryotherapy may be appropriate for:
- Men who need full prostate ablation treatment.
- Salvage treatment in men whose prostate cancer has returned following radiation treatment.
As with any treatment for prostate cancer, side effects may occur after cryotherapy. These side effects may include loss of urinary control, injury to the rectum, and loss of sexual function.
- Incontinence occurred in no more than 8% of patients.1
- Injury to the rectum occurred in less than 0.5% of patients.1
- Rates of impotence varied from 49% to 93% at 1 year after cryotherapy.1
Other side effects may include temporary swelling, soreness, or discomfort in or around the scrotum or penis for a few days following the procedure. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to help relieve any swelling or soreness. You should also talk to your doctor about the possibility of seeing blood in your urine and what you should do if you see it.
Be sure to speak with a qualified urologist to learn more about the benefits and risks that cryotherapy may hold for you.
- Babaian RJ, Donnelly B, Bahn D, et al. Best practice statement on cryosurgery for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. J Urol. 2008;180(5):1993-2004.
- American Urological Association. Cryoablation for prostate cancer. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=108. Accessed August 28, 2012.
- Schmidt JD, Doyle J, Larison S. Prostate cryoblation: update 1998. CA Cancer J Clin. 1998;48(4):239-53.
- Katz AE, Rewcastle JC. The current and potential role of cryoablation as a primary therapy for localized prostate cancer. Curr