Alaska Cancer Treatment Center

Cryoablation of Solid Tumors

Cryoablation (also known as “cryosurgery”) is a method of treating prostate cancer in which a urologic oncologist freezes either the entire prostate or just the cancerous areas. The procedure is effective, but causes impotence in most men, so AUI doctors recommend it only for men who cannot have radiation therapy or surgery due to other medical conditions or age. Cryoablation is used most often during cancer’s early stages.

The procedure usually requires general anesthesia, but may not require a hospital stay. The doctor inserts an ultrasound probe into the patient’s rectum, where it projects an image of the prostate on a monitor. The doctor uses this image to insert needles or probes that are filled with very cold gas into the prostate at predetermined locations . The gas is not injected into the prostate; rather, the needles freeze the tissue by proximity. The doctor also inserts a cystoscope and visually ensures that the needles / probes are properly placed.

A warming catheter is also inserted to keep the urethra warm during the procedure and small temperature probes are inserted in and around the prostate to monitor temperature.

The main benefits of cryoablation are that it is effective and does not require open surgery. In addition, it results in less pain, has lower associated risk and generally costs less than surgery.

The best source for information on treating prostate cancer is a urological oncologist who is thoroughly knowledgeable about you and your cancer. An AUI urologic oncologist can answer your questions and help you decide which treatment is best for you.