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What is cryotherapy for prostate cancer?

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Quick Answer

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer is a treatment method that destroys cancer tissue in the prostate by freezing it, according to Mayo Clinic. Typically, doctors apply this treatment when prostate cancer is still in its initial stages. It is also applicable when prostate cancer recurs as a result of ineffectiveness of other treatment methods, including radiotherapy. Although cryotherapy for prostate cancer is a useful procedure, it lead to side effects such as painful scrotal inflammation, bloody urine and erectile dysfunction.

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Full Answer

Before undergoing cryotherapy for prostate cancer, a patient should undertake certain preparatory measures, which include emptying the colon and fasting for a few hours before the procedure as advised by a doctor, notes Mayo Clinic. During the procedure, the doctor first protects the patient from pain by administering general or local anesthesia before inserting an ultrasound probe into the rectum. The doctor inserts a catheter, which contains a warm solution, in the urethra, and then the doctor follows this up by inserting metal probes in the perineum, pushing the probes all the way to the prostate.

Next, the doctor verifies the proper insertion of the probes using the images that the ultrasound probe produces before allowing argon gas into the probes, explains Mayo Clinic. As the gas moves in the probes, it renders them very cold, allowing the probes to destroy the cancer cells in the prostate. Checking and adjusting the temperature of the probes to suitable levels and assessing the extent of freezing are necessary during the freezing procedure.

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