Why it's done

Cryotherapy freezes tissue within the prostate gland. After being frozen, the prostate cancer cells die.

Your doctor may recommend cryotherapy for prostate cancer as an option at different times during your cancer treatment and for different reasons. Cryotherapy might be recommended:

  • As the primary treatment for cancer, usually for early-stage cancer that is confined to your prostate
  • After other cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy, to stop the growth of prostate cancer that has returned

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer generally isn't recommended for men:

  • Who have normal sexual function
  • Who previously had surgery for rectal or anal cancer
  • Whose prostates can't be monitored with an ultrasound probe during the procedure
  • Who have large tumors that can't be treated with cryotherapy without damaging surrounding tissue and organs, such as the rectum or bladder
April 26, 2016
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  2. Pisters LL, et al. Cryotherapy and other ablative techniques for the initial treatment of prostate cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 3, 2016.
  3. Marien A, et al. Target ablation — Image-guided therapy in prostate cancer. Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations. 2014;32:912.
  4. Moul JW. Rising serum PSA after radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer: Salvage local therapy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 3, 2016.
  5. Friedlander DF, et al. Population-based comparative effectiveness of salvage radical prostatectomy vs cryotherapy. Urology. 2014;83:653.
  6. Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz. Feb. 12, 2016.
  7. Cryosurgery for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-treating-cryosurgery. Accessed Feb. 3, 2016.