Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in men, and the search for minimally invasive and effective treatments is ongoing. Focal prostate cryotherapy, a relatively new and innovative technique, has emerged as a promising solution for managing prostate cancer.
Below, Dr. Michael Geffin, GBU's Chief Medical Officer, explores the fundamentals of focal prostate cryotherapy, its advantages, and its potential as a game-changer in prostate cancer treatment.
Understanding Prostate Cryotherapy
Prostate cryotherapy, also known as cryoablation or cryosurgery, is a medical procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy cancerous and benign prostate tissue.
The concept is not entirely new, as it has been used for several decades. However, focal prostate cryotherapy is more targeted and less invasive than traditional whole-gland cryotherapy.
Key Components of Focal Prostate Cryotherapy
Precise Targeting: Unlike whole-gland therapies (such as radical prostatectomy, prostate radiation, and whole-gland cryotherapy), focal prostate cryotherapy selectively targets the affected areas. This precision reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue and minimizes potential side effects seen with the total gland treatments.
Image Guidance: Advanced imaging techniques, such as MRI, are often used to identify the exact location and extent of the cancerous tissue. This ensures that the freezing process is localized and accurate.
Biopsy mapping: Improved 3-D computerized modeling of the prostate with precise mapping of biopsy sites mark the known pathological area of the cancer and the areas where the cancer is not.
Advantages of Focal Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer
Preservation of Quality of Life: One of the most significant advantages of focal prostate cryotherapy is its potential to spare adjacent critical structures like the bladder, nerves, and the urinary sphincter. This can lead to better preservation of erectile function and urinary control, lessen bladder radiation bleeding, and improve patients' post-treatment quality of life.
Quick Recovery: Focal prostate cryotherapy is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can often resume their normal activities within a relatively short time frame, leading to a faster recovery than other treatment options.
Customized Treatment: Focal prostate cryotherapy is customized to each patient's specific case. It is typically used as a primary treatment but can also be combined with other therapies, such as active surveillance, radiation, or surgery, depending on the individual's condition.
Bottom line: Focal prostate cryotherapy is a groundbreaking advancement in the treatment of prostate cancer.
By targeting only the affected areas with extreme precision, focal prostate cryotherapy offers patients a better quality of life with fewer side effects and quicker recovery times. While it may not be suitable for all prostate cancer cases, it represents a significant step forward in the fight against this common and often challenging disease.
If you or a loved one is dealing with prostate cancer, consider discussing focal prostate cryotherapy with your healthcare provider to explore if it is a suitable treatment option. (Click here to request an appointment at one of Greater Boston Urology's locations.)
Prostate cancer management is a complex decision, and having the latest information at your disposal is crucial in making informed choices for your health.