An Overview of Cryosurgery
Cryosurgery is an effective method to freeze and destroy abnormal, pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the body. This treatment option is used for various types of cancers, both internally and externally. Prostate cancer cryosurgery is an effective technique for the early stages when the cancer is restricted to the prostate gland only. This is a preferred technique in suitable cases of early stage prostate cancer because it usually produces lesser side effects than other treatments. The treatment is also relatively more affordable and the recovery period is also shorter. Long-term effectiveness of cryosurgery to prevent recurrence of the tumor is still under study.
Advantages of Prostate Cancer Cryosurgery
Cryosurgery is one of the effective techniques in case of patients who have been diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer, which is limited to the prostate gland. A key benefit of cryosurgery is that the procedure may be repeated if necessary. It is also ideal in case of patients who are unable to undergo radiotherapy or surgery. Compared to other techniques, cryosurgery is a less invasive procedure. The benefit is that the patient experiences lesser pain and bleeding complications.
Sometimes the procedure may not require any hospital stay at all, or a minimal stay in most cases. Some operating surgeons may perform the procedure using only local anesthesia. Another key advantage of the procedure is that it does not cause damage to nearby healthy tissue because of its limited focus to the affected area. The procedure may also be easily combined with other standard treatment options such as radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
Disadvantages of Cryosurgery
The long-term effectiveness and results of this procedure are not well defined till now. Cryosurgery is a comparatively lesser established procedure for prostate cancer. Radiotherapy and prostatectomy are more commonly used treatment options for this problem. Another limitation of cryosurgery is that it may cause obstruction in the flow of urine or may result in bladder incontinence. But in most cases these undesirable outcomes are not permanent. In exceptional cases, the procedure is also known to cause impotence or even an injury to the rectum in some cases.
This procedure is usually effective in treatment of the tumor of the prostate gland which is visible to the surgeon by examining the imaging tests of the affected area. But the treatment may have the possibility to miss out microscopic spread of the cancer which may not be detected in the imaging tests. From the patient’s point of view, another issue that may arise is of insurance coverage for this procedure. Since its effectiveness is still a matter of study, some insurers may not provide coverage for cryosurgery.
Side Effects of Cryosurgery
The positive part of this treatment is that it tends to have fewer and less severe side effects compared to other procedures such as radiation therapy or surgery. In some cases, the procedure may cause swelling in the genital region. Scrotal edema or collection of fluid in the scrotum is another possible complication with this procedure. Some patients report difficulties in urination after the procedure, or may pass blood when they urinate. The rarer side effects of the procedure may include bladder incontinence or poor control over urination and even sexual dysfunction in a few cases.