Side Effects From Cryosurgery
Cryosurgery can cause side effects, although they are likely to be less severe than those from other local treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy. The side effects that you might have depend mostly on the part of your body that is treated. For instance:
- Cryosurgery to treat abnormal cervical cells can cause cramping, pain, or bleeding.
- Cryosurgery for skin tumors may cause scarring and swelling. If nerves are damaged, you may have a loss of feeling. Rarely, it may cause a loss of skin pigment or hair in the treated area.
- Cryosurgery to treat tumors in bone may lead to the damage of nearby bone tissue that in time will cause broken bones.
- Cryosurgery to treat tumors in the liver may cause damage to the bile ducts and major blood vessels, which can lead to heavy bleeding or infection.
- Cryosurgery to treat prostate cancer can cause urine flow to be blocked, incontinence, impotence, and damage to the rectum. You are more likely to have side effects from cryosurgery if you have also had radiation therapy to the prostate.
What Is Salvage Prostate Cryoablation
Salvage cryoablation of the prostate is a procedure recommended for prostate cancer that has returned in men who have been treated previously.
Salvage literally means save. The doctor is trying to save the patient from the cancer. The procedure uses cryoablation, or extreme cold, to freeze the prostate, so that the cancer cells within it will freeze and die. It is also called cryosurgery or cryotherapy.
The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and is minimally invasive.
What Can You Expect After A Cryoablation Of The Prostate
After the procedure, your doctor will insert a catheter, or a drainage tube, to help urine leave the body. This is because its usual for the prostate to be swollen for about seven days, making it hard for you to urinate. Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter at an office visit about seven days after the procedure. Then you will be able to urinate on your own.
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What Is The Difference Between Salvage Cryoablation Of The Prostate And Other Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer
Salvage prostate cryoablation, when used on the whole gland, destroys all of the prostate tissue. Other treatments do the following:
- Radiation therapykills the individual cells. The more aggressive the cancer, the harder the cells are to kill with radiation.
- Radical prostatectomy, or surgery to remove the entire prostate and some of the surrounding tissue, is sometimes done after failed radiation therapy. It has a risk of significant complications, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
- Hormonal therapy, to reduce the level of male hormones, is another option and may be recommended to reduce tumor size and slow the cancer growth. It will not cure the cancer and has significant side effects.
How Will I Know That The Treatment Has Been Successful
As with any other prostate cancer treatment option, the postoperative PSA blood test will be the primary indicator of a successful treatment. We will obtain a PSA level three months after the procedure, and then every six months for five years. After five years PSA monitoring is generally done annually. We expect to see the PSA come down to a level well below 0.5 ng/dl and remain at the lowest level achieved. Three successive rises in the PSA after reaching the lowest point would raise concern about residual or recurrent prostate cancer.
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Risks Of Prostate Cryoablation
Complications of cryoablation of the prostate are generally local, and can rarely include urethral sloughing leading to blood in the urine and urinary burning, very rare incontinence, infection, penile numbness, and erectile dysfunction. The incidence of incontinence is 1-2% in primary cases, and slightly higher in radiation salvage cases.
Are There Advantages To Using Cryotherapy For Prostate Cancer
There are few long-term studies on cryotherapy and prostate cancer. Some experts believe, though, that cryotherapy offers several advantages over surgery and radiation. Those advantages may be particularly noticeable in early-stage prostate cancer. For instance, cryotherapy is a less invasive procedure. It can be done using an epidural or spinal instead of general anesthesia. This may benefit older men with prostate cancer. It can also benefit men who have other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease.
Other advantages with cryotherapy include:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Shorter recovery period
- Much less swelling and pain than with standard surgery for prostate cancer
If needed, cryotherapy can be followed with other conventional therapies, such as radiation therapy or surgery.
One recent study followed men with prostate cancer for a period of 10 years. In that study, researchers concluded that cryotherapy might be as effective as radiation and other common treatments for prostate cancer. Cryotherapy, though, wasn’t directly tested against those more established treatments.
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Vitamin Mineral And Other Supplements
Vitamin E and selenium: Some early studies suggested that taking vitamin E or selenium supplements might lower prostate cancer risk.
But in a large study known as the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial , neither vitamin E nor selenium supplements were found to lower prostate cancer risk. In fact, men in the study taking the vitamin E supplements were later found to have a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer.
Soy and isoflavones: Some early research has suggested possible benefits from soy proteins in lowering prostate cancer risk. Several studies are now looking more closely at the possible effects of these proteins.
Taking any supplements can have both risks and benefits. Before starting vitamins or other supplements, talk with your doctor.
Possible Benefits And Disadvantages Of Cryotherapy
If you are thinking about having cryotherapy, your doctor can explain the benefits and disadvantages. They will also tell you about the other treatment options available to you.
Doctors still do not know enough about how effective cryotherapy is compared to existing treatments for early prostate cancer. Active surveillance, which involves monitoring the cancer, may be an option.
Side effects, such as erection difficulties and urinary problems may be less of a problem with these treatments. But they may still affect you. If you have already had treatment for prostate cancer, the side effects may be worse.
Some people may prefer to have cryotherapy even though there is not enough evidence about them yet. They may feel there is less risk of certain side effects and want to avoid surgery or radiotherapy. Or, it may be because these treatments can be given in a short hospital stay and recovery is usually quick.
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Cryotherapy For Prostate Cancer Treatment
The prostate gland surrounds the bottom of a man’s bladder and about the first inch of the urinary tube, or urethra. It has a key role in male reproduction. The prostate gland secretes seminal fluid. That fluid combines with sperm to make .
As a man ages, the prostate often becomes the target of several problems. One of these is prostate cancer. In 2022, an estimated 260,000 men in the U.S. were diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men after non-melanomaskin cancer.
Even with early intervention and conventional treatment, 30% to 40% of men experience a recurrence of prostate cancer. That means they will need further treatment. Some experts think cryotherapy is an option for treating recurrent prostate cancer, especially if initial radiation therapy did not kill enough cancer cells.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages
If you’re thinking about having cryotherapy, speak to your doctor or nurse before deciding whether to have it they can help you choose the right treatment for you. Take time to think about whether you want to have cryotherapy. We’ve included a list of questions that you might find helpful. You can also ask about any other treatments that might be available.
- Cryotherapy is less invasive than some other treatments, with little or no bleeding.
- Youll only be in the hospital for up to 24 hours.
- Recovery is usually quick and most people return to their normal activities within a few weeks.
- You may be able to have cryotherapy if your cancer has come back after radiotherapy, brachytherapy or HIFU.
- You may be able to have cryotherapy again if your cancer comes back after your first cryotherapy treatment. This isnt the case with all treatments.
- You might get side effects such as erection and urinary problems.
- Compared with other treatments, we dont know as much about how well cryotherapy works or the risk of side effects in the long term .
- Cryotherapy isnt widely available in the UK.
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Where To Go For Cryosurgery
For simple procedures, you will have cryosurgery in a doctors office as an outpatient. For more complex ones, you may need to stay in the hospital.
A small number of hospitals and cancer centers throughout the country have skilled doctors and machines needed to perform more complex procedures. Talk with your doctor or contact hospitals and cancer centers in your area to find out if they are using cryosurgery.
How To Prepare Before Surgery
The specific pre-surgery preparations will depend on your health, lifestyle, and medical history.
Common preparations for prostate cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment:
- Explanation Your doctor will explain the procedure, the benefits, the risks, and what to expect before, during, and after treatment.
- Paperwork You will be asked to sign consent forms for the procedure.
- Medical Review Your doctor will review your general health, medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may also take blood tests. We recommend that you inform your doctor of any health issues or symptoms you may currently experience.
- Allergies Let your doctor know if you are allergic or sensitive to any medications, anesthesia, latex, or other common medical products.
- Medications Your doctor will review your current medication use and any history of medications. Inform your doctor of any blood thinning medication you may take.
- Lifestyle Your doctor will usually ask about exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle habits such as smoking. Reducing or stopping any tobacco use is recommended for better treatment outcomes.
- Colon preparation Your doctor will prescribe a laxative or enema to clear your colon for cryosurgery treatment.
- Sedative You may receive medication to sedate you before the procedure.
Recovery From Cryotherapy For Prostate Cancer
Although most patients require an overnight stay in the hospital after the procedure, some patients can go home the day of the procedure.
After the procedure, your cancer care team will closely monitor your vital signs in a hospital room. You may need pain medication and/or antibiotics to relieve pain and prevent infection. You will be encouraged to move around the hospital room as you can. Your catheter will be left in place for as long as three weeks to help drain while the prostate heals.
Before discharge, your doctor will give you detailed instructions including:
- How to care for the catheter
- Follow-up appointment schedules
- How to care for the affected area
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away:
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An enlarged prostate can also be the cause of other problems. If the enlarged prostate is causing symptoms, the best treatment would be a natural remedy. In the meantime, there are treatments for a wide range of conditions that cause a man to experience pain. A common surgical procedure involves an electric loop, laser, or electro-stimulation. The procedure is a safe and effective option for treating enlarged or symptomatic BPH.
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Surgical procedures to remove the diseased prostate are usually necessary. Surgical procedures are not always necessary. If the disease is caused by bacterial infections, a doctor can treat the symptoms using alpha-blockers or surgery. Physical therapy, relaxation exercises, and warm baths are all recommended. A physician may also prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection. A bacterial infection can also cause a recurrence of the condition.
An enlarged prostate can be uncomfortable for both men and women. Some of the symptoms of an enlarged male reproductive organ include a weakened urine stream, urgent need to urinate, and urinary tract infections. BPH can also cause damage to the kidneys. A sudden inability to urinate can be life-threatening, as it can lead to bladder and kidney damage. Unfortunately, most men with enlarged prostrates put up with the symptoms for years before they seek treatment. However, many of the men with symptoms finally decide to go to a doctor for proper gynecological evaluation and to begin enlarged prostatic therapy.
How Cryosurgery Treats Cancer
Cryosurgery freezes tissue, causing cells in the treated area to die.
For tumors on the skin, the doctor applies liquid nitrogen directly to the abnormal area with a cotton swab or spraying device. For tumors inside the body, the doctor may use a device called a cryoprobe to freeze the tumor tissue. Cryoprobes may be put into the body during surgery or through a small cut in the skin. As liquid nitrogen or argon gas flows through the cryoprobe, the doctor places it directly on the tumor. During this procedure, the doctor uses ultrasound or MRI to guide the cryoprobe to the correct spot, which helps limit damage to nearby healthy tissue. Sometimes, more than one cryoprobe is used to freeze different parts of the tumor.
When the frozen tissue thaws, the cells die. Tumors that were frozen inside the body will be absorbed. Tumors that were frozen on the skin will form a scab that will fall off as the damaged skin heals.
Cryosurgery may be used with other cancer treatments such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. For example, the tissue remaining after a primary bone tumor has been removed by surgery may be treated with cryotherapy to help reduce the risk that the tumor will come back.
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Cryotherapy For Local Control
Among patients undergoing repeat biopsy 3-24 months after treatment with a standard 5-probe cryotherapy system, 7.7-25% have been found to have residual malignancy of the glands, and 42-71% have been found to have focal areas of viable benign epithelium. Numerous disease- and treatment-related factors have been shown to predict rates of local control.
In one series, for example, the likelihood of positive biopsy findings was 9% in subjects with clinical stage T1 or T2 disease, compared with 21% in those with T3 disease. Persistent or recurrent cancer is more likely among tumors located in the prostatic apex or the seminal vesicles than those located in the midgland or the base.
A pooled analysis stratified patients into the following risk groups :
Low risk – PSA level of 10 ng/mL or lower, Gleason score of 6 or less, and clinical stage T1 or T2a disease
Intermediate risk – PSA level higher than 10 ng/mL, Gleason score of 7 or more, or clinical stage T2b disease or higher
High risk – The presence of 2 or 3 of these adverse risk factors
The distribution of patients among low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups was 25%, 34%, and 41%, respectively. The positive biopsy rate in the series was 18% overall: 12% among low- and intermediate-risk patients and 24% among high-risk patients.
What To Expect During Cryotherapy For Prostate Cancer
Before the cryotherapy procedure, your cancer care team will give you a general anesthesia or a spinal epidural to ensure you do not feel the procedure. Once you are properly sedated, your doctor will insert small needles into the prostate using ultrasound guidance to locate the affected area.
When in position, your doctor will inject a cold gas to freeze the abnormal tissue. Another gas will then be injected into the area to reheat the tissue. The cycles of freezing and reheating kill the cancerous cells. Your doctor will carefully monitor the prostate during the process to ensure healthy tissue is not damaged.
Although the name cryosurgery implies this is a surgical procedure, surgery is not involved in this prostate cancer treatment option.
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What You Need To Know About The Prostate Can You Freeze A Prostate
A enlarged prostate can also cause blockages in the urethra. A blocked urethra can also damage the kidneys. A patient suffering from an enlargement of the prostate may have pain in his lower abdomen and genitals. If pain is present, a digital rectal examination will reveal hard areas. A doctor may prescribe surgery or perform an endoscopic procedure. If the enlarged prostate is not completely removed, it will shrink.
While the size of an enlarged prostate will influence the extent of urinary symptoms, men may experience a range of urinary symptoms. Some men have minimal or no symptoms at all. Some men will have a very enlarged prostate, whereas others will have a mild enlargement. Generally, the symptoms can stabilize over time. Some men may have an enlarged prostate but not notice it. If they have an enlarged colon, their physician can perform a TURP procedure.
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Another type of prostate issue is chronic prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This condition causes pain in the lower back and groin area, and may cause urinary retention. Symptoms include leaking and discomfort. In severe cases, a catheter may be required to relieve the symptoms. If the problem is unresponsive to other treatments, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure. If these do not work, your symptoms could progress and become chronic.
An acute bacterial infection can cause a burning sensation. Inflammation of the prostate can affect the bladder and result in discomfort and other symptoms. This is the most common urinary tract problem in men under 50, and the third most common in men over 65. The symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis are similar to those of CPPS. Patients may experience a fever or chills as a result of the infection.
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