Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a new treatment that has been used to treat localised cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. The aim of cryotherapyA therapy that destroys unwanted cells or tissue by freezing it. is to destroy cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. cells by freezing them, and it is mainly used to treat cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. that has returned following radiotherapy.

Recommended:

  • If you have localised prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., although it is not suitable for tumours near the outer edge of the prostate
  • To treat cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. that has returned following previous treatment.

Cryotherapy requires a general anaestheticAny agent that reduces or abolishes sensation, affecting the whole body. or an epiduralOn or over the dura mater, the outermost of the three membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The epidural space is used for anaesthetising spinal nerve roots, for example during pregnancy..

A narrow tube called a warming catheterA tube used either to drain fluid from the body or to introduce fluid into the body. is inserted into the urethra to prevent it being damaged by the procedure.

Special probes called cryoprobes are inserted through the perineumThe part of the body between the anus (the lowest part of the gastrointestinal tract) and the opening of the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body). into the prostate glandAn organ with the ability to make and secrete certain fluids. and argon gas is pumped through the cryoprobes to chill them. This freezes and destroys the tissue in contact with the cryoprobes.

A catheterA tube used either to drain fluid from the body or to introduce fluid into the body. is inserted through the skin of the abdomenThe part of the body that contains the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder and other organs. to drain the bladderThe organ that stores urine.. This is left in place for one to two weeks to drain urine from the bladderThe organ that stores urine. while the urethra is recovering.

Advantages of cryotherapy

  • May be as effective as surgery or radiotherapy for localised prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

Disadvantages of cryotherapy

  • Might not destroy all the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. in the area
  • Injury to the rectum
  • Problems getting an erectionThe enlarged, rigid state of the penis during sexual arousal.
  • Problems with ejaculationThe discharge of semen from a man’s penis at the time of sexual climax.
  • Urinary incontinenceThe involuntary passage of urine or faeces.
  • Narrowing of the urethra The tube that carries urine from the bladder, and in men also carries semen during ejaculation.(stricture)
  • A fistulaAn abnormal channel between a hollow organ and either another hollow organ, or the outside of the body. could develop between the rectum and the urethra.