Cryotherapy for prostate cancer

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There are other treatment options to the prostate cancer apart from the traditionally used treatments - one of them is called cryotherapy also referred to as cryosurgery or cryoblation. At the moment it is generally only performed on patients with early prostate cancer or relapsed prostate cancer. This type of treatment uses extreme cold to freeze and hence destroy abnormal tissue.

How is the procedure performed?

Before the surgery either local or general anesthesia is administered. During the surgery a thin hollow needle is inserted through the skin of the perineum area (between the anus and the scrotum) into the affected part of the prostate. This needle releases extremely cold gas (liquid nitrogen) which turns into ice crystals and destroys the cancerous tissue by freezing it. During this procedure a catheter with a warm saltwater solution is inserted into the urethra to prevent it from the potential danger of freezing and becoming nonfunctional. During the whole procedure, the doctor monitors the surgery by transrectal ultrasound. You will need to have a catheter directly from your bladder  through the skin of the abdomen to drain urine for a week or so after the therapy. This is called suprapubic catheter. Once swelling in the prostate gland has resolved, the catheter will be removed.

Possible side effects include:

Advantages of cryotherapy:

Disadvantages of cryotherapy

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

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