Cryosurgery uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells. It may be used to treat early prostate cancer. It's an option for those who can't have radiation therapy or a more invasive type of surgery. Or it may be used to treat prostate cancer that has come back after radiation therapy.
During this treatment, very thin needles, or probes, are put into the prostate. The doctor uses ultrasound to guide the probes into place. A very cold gas is passed through the probes. The gas freezes the prostate and destroys cancer cells.
A type of cryosurgery called focal cryotherapy may be an option in some cases. This targets just the tumour rather than the whole prostate. This may lead to fewer side effects, but the risk of cancer coming back (recurrence) is higher.
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
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