What Is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer that works by freezing the area with the cancer cells.
Who Is Cryotherapy Treatment Suitable For?
Cryotherapy treatment is sometimes suitable to treat men with localised prostate cancer that has not spread beyond their prostate gland. It is not suitable for:
- Extensive high grade cancers or
- Cancers that have spread outside the prostate gland
How Does Cryotherapy Treatment Work?
Cryotherapy is performed by a urologist, the procedure lasts approximately one hour as follows:
- Tiny probes called cryoneedles are inserted into the rectum/perineum and then inserted into area where the cancer cells are in the prostate gland via the wall of the rectum / perineum
- These probes freeze the cancerous area and then kill the cancer cells, but some normal cells also die.
- The aim is to kill cancer cells while causing minimal damage as possible to healthy cells.
- During the procedure a catheter is inserted to run warm water throughout the procedure to prevent the urethra from freezing.
- This catheter remains for a few days after the procedure to drain the bladder and allow the healing to take place.
How Long Does A Cryotherapy Session Take?
A cryotherapy procedure takes approximately 60-75mins. Generally the patient is able to go home the same day.
How Long Does Cryotherapy Take To Work?
As the cells die at the time of the procedure, cryotherapy treatment technically is instant. The follow up is done with blood tests and MRI scan in 10-12 weeks to assess the results.
What Are The Benefits Of Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy benefits when comparing to other prostate cancer treatments, such as surgery or radiotherapy are:
- Less invasive
- Reduced blood loss compared to other treatments
- Shorter hospital stay
- Shorter recovery
- Less pain
- Less instance of erectile side effects
- Reduced chances of incontinence
What Are The Side Effects Of Cryotherapy?
The side effects of cryotherapy can include
It is rare for cryotherapy to cause
- rectal problems
Does Cryotherapy Treatment Hurt?
Cyrotherapy does not hurt as the patient is under general anaesthesia, however there can be general discomfort afterwards due to the catheter, but this normally subsides after 24-48 hours.
Can Cryotherapy Make You Sick?
No, cryotherapy cannot make you sick.
How To Prepare For Cryotherapy
There is no specific preparation required for cryotherapy but as with any other surgical procedure under anaesthesia, you must refrain from eating and drinking 6 hours before the procedure.