The reproductive system comprises a complex set of organs and tissues designed to support fertility. The prostate is an organ that lies under the bladder and slightly in front of the rectum. Behind the prostate are the seminal vesicles, which are the glands responsible for making most of the fluid that goes into semen. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate and carries urine and semen out of the body via the penis.
The prostate itself is designed to produce the fluid that transports and nourishes sperm cells. A malfunctioning or unhealthy prostate can contribute to unhealthy sperm cells. Cells can grow out of control in the prostate, resulting in prostate cancer. The cells can form lumps or masses that contribute to blockages or steal nutrients and resources from healthy tissue.
There are a variety of treatments for prostate cancer, from radiation treatment and radiation therapy to prostate cancer surgery and more. One potentially effective treatment for prostate cancer is cryoablation, also known as cryosurgery and cryotherapy. Cryoablation prostate cancer treatment is a minimally invasive treatment option. Learn more about prostate cancer and cryoablation therapy below.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer refers to any cancer that originates within the prostate. As cancerous cells in the prostate continue to grow, they may potentially spread to nearby parts of the reproductive system, contributing to further issues. In some cases of prostate cancer, cancerous cells may break away and travel through the bloodstream to farther areas of the body. The process of cancer cells traveling is known as metastasis.
Prostate cancer is a common cancer. Estimates suggest about 248,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2021. Aside from skin cancers, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and people with penises with about a 1 in 8 chance of diagnosis. Prostate cancer is most common among older individuals at least 65 years old. Part of this comes from the changing size of the prostate as you get older. As you age, your prostate generally gets larger.
Types of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is categorized based on the type of cells that are affected within the prostate. While there are several different cell types in the prostate, nearly all cases of prostate cancer are adenocarcinomas, which develop in the gland cells responsible for creating the fluid that is incorporated into semen. Other rarer forms of prostate cancer include small cell carcinomas, sarcomas, and neuroendocrine tumors.
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
While some cases of prostate cancer grow and spread quickly, most prostate cancers grow slowly. This growth can be so gradual that you nor your doctor may even know you have any prostate issues.
In the early prostate cancer stages, the cancer presents almost no noticeable symptoms. Symptoms that do appear often only occur when the cancer has grown to more advanced stages. Some potential symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Blood in your semen or urine
- General urinary problems, like a slow or weak stream, frequent urination, or needing to pee more at night
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sudden unintended weight loss
- Pain in your hips, back, ribs, and other nearby bones
- Weakness or numbness in your legs or feet
If the cancer has grown enough, it may press on the spinal cord, resulting in a loss of bowel or bladder control.
Many of these problems are more characteristic of other conditions aside from prostate cancer, which is part of what makes it hard to detect this cancer via symptoms alone. Thankfully, most cancers are found in the early prostate cancer stages with the help of screening procedures.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Researchers understand that cancer is caused by genetic mutations in your cells that cause them to grow out of control. However, experts do not know what exactly causes the mutations that contribute to cells growing out of control. Most researchers believe that it is a mix of environmental factors, lifestyle, and inherited gene mutations. Prostate cancer may run in families, so if you have an immediate family member with prostate cancer, you may have a higher risk of prostate cancer yourself.
Cryoablation and Prostate Cancer
There are a variety of treatments to potentially cure prostate cancer and prevent its spread. One potentially effective treatment for prostate cancer and several other forms of cancer is cryoablation. Cryoablation, also sometimes referred to as cryosurgery or cryotherapy, is a medical procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy diseased cancerous tissue, blemishes, and abnormal cells. The extreme cold freezes the cancerous tissue, killing affected cells without harming surrounding tissue. Cryoablation prostate cancer treatment is considered to be a noninvasive one for prostate cancer patients. Cryoablation breast cancer treatment is available as well for a patient with breast cancer.
The process typically involves the administration of gas that measures well below freezing temperatures when administered. Common gases used in cryoablation include:
- Liquid nitrous oxide
- Liquid nitrogen
- Compressed argon gas
You may already be familiar with cryoablation. Cryoablation is often used to remove certain surface level abnormalities on your skin, including warts, atypical moles, actinic keratosis, and skin tags. However, cryoablation can be administered in deeper tissues, like masses that form within the prostate.
During the cryoablation procedure, your doctor makes a small incision through which they insert a thin, wand-like tool known as a cryoprobe. The gas of choice is pumped through the cryoprobe, reaching the tip. The surgeon uses imaging technology to locate the area. Once they reach the affected area, the surgeon touches the cryoprobe to the abnormal tissue, freezing the cancerous prostate tissue. The tissue is then allowed to thaw before it is frozen again. The cycle of freezing and thawing continues several times during one session, allowing you to effectively destroy the tissues.
The entire process can take just a few minutes. Your doctor may recommend several sessions. Along with potentially treating cancer directly, prostate cryotherapy and cryoablation may be used to relieve pain and certain symptoms caused by the cancer. Along with prostate cancer, cryoablation may be used as a primary treatment for cancer affecting the kidney, liver, and breasts.
Benefits of Cryoablation for Prostate Cancer
There are several other treatments for prostate cancer, but cryoablation has its unique benefits. The most prominent advantage of prostate cancer is that it is minimally invasive, especially compared to prostate cancer surgery for removing tumors. That means less damage to surrounding tissue, less scarring, and fewer side effects.
You don’t have to worry about recovery or downtime. Most patients can return to their regular schedules almost immediately following the procedure. Some patients may need to stay overnight if the process involved treating deeper tumors.
The minimally invasive nature of the procedure also makes the whole procedure much safer. Blood loss is minimal, and chances of infection are extremely low.
It should be noted that cryoablation is not right for everyone, and may not be enough as a primary treatment. In some cases of prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend cryoablation in conjunction with other forms of treatment, like radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Cryoablation is a viable treatment for prostate cancer, and it can be particularly beneficial if you are worried about recovery periods or damage to other tissues. Prostate cryoablation treatment for cancer care is a great option to treat cancerous prostate tissue and cells.If you have prostate cancer, talk to your doctor to determine if cryoablation prostate cancer is the best treatment option for your needs. You can also visit the Immunity Therapy Center to learn about more treatment options.
- Cancer.org. What Is Prostate Cancer? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/what-is-prostate-cancer.html
- Cancer.org. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
- Cancer.org. Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
- Cancer.org. Prostate Cancer Risk Factors. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
- National Cancer Institute. Cryoablation. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/cryoablation
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.