Cryotherapy has been used for a long time to fight harmful cells. Cryotherapy has many applications in medicine field. In the case of cancer such as prostate cancer in its initial phase, it is a very effective alternative to surgery.
To initiate cryotherapy process to treat prostate cancer it is necessary to apply epidural or general anesthesia to the patient. By a trans rectal ultrasound, a series of hollow probes are passed to the prostate. This, through the area that communicate anus and scrotum.
Gases at low temperature which transport the hollow probes freeze the prostate, trying to save nearby tissue. To prevent urethra from freezing during the process, a catheter carries warm salt water.
After treatment, rest period is recommended, which usually last a day in the hospital.
Cryotherapy is a much less invasive method than surgery or radiotherapy. Hospitalization time is shorter and less blood is lost. However, cryotherapy is usually administered in early tumor stages, because in more complex stages it does not achieve the same efficiency as radiotherapy.
In most cases patients present a trace of blood in the urine and a pain that varies in intensity depending on patient in the area where the needles have been placed.
Swelling on penis or scrotum is also common. If nerves around prostate are damaged, there might be cases of erectile dysfunction, as these nerves control erections.
Although it is not common, in isolated cases, urinary incontinence might occur and 1% of cases present a case of fistula between the rectum and the bladder.
Cryotherapy experts continue developing this method to prevent side effects and make the intervention of direct cold in the damaged area even more effective, especially in patients with an advanced cancer stage.