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Treating Prostate Cancer With Cryotherapy

Each year more than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer for men in the United States after

non-melanoma skin cancer.  Although modern advances in medical techniques and surgical technology can help treat prostate cancer, 30% to 40% of men experience a recurrence following treatment.  Some new research suggests that cryotherapy may help treat these cases of recurring cancer.

What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy uses extremely low temperatures to freeze and destroy cancer tissue.  Living tissue cannot survive these levels of extreme cold. An infusion of nitrogen or argon gas into the prostate gland causes nearly instantaneous formation of ice crystals. These crystals destroy the rupture of the cell membranes, with tissue damage and cell death following soon after. Once the cancer cells are destroyed, they are removed by the body’s natural immune system. Subjecting the prostate to temperatures below negative 40 degrees Celsius has also been show to trigger an “anti-tumor” response. This response causes the body to actually begin producing anti-bodies that help destroy any remaining cancer cells.

What Are The Benefits Of Cryotherapy?

Although there are few long-term studies on using cryotherapy to treat prostate cancer, some experts believe that it offers many advantages over surgery or radiation.  Cryotherapy is a noninvasive procedure which can be performed. It can also benefit men who are older than 65 or have a history of diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

Cryotherapy also involves less blood loss than a surgical prostatectomy, requiring a shorter hospital and a faster recovery time. A surgeon may recommend combining cryotherapy with conventional methods such as surgery or radiation.

Although some studies indicate that cryotherapy might be as effective as radiation for treating prostate cancer, there has not yet been a definite study proving its long term benefits.

Talk to your doctor about cryotherapy as a way to treat prostate cancer, as well as ways to detect cancer early.