Cryotherapy for prostate cancer

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer freezes prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. As a minimally invasive procedure, cryotherapy for prostate cancer is sometimes used as an alternative to surgical removal of the prostate gland (prostatectomy).

In the past, cryotherapy for prostate cancer was associated with significantly higher levels of long-term side effects than were other prostate cancer treatments. Advances in the technology of cryotherapy for prostate cancer have reduced these side effects. Most men, however, still experience long-term sexual dysfunction following cryotherapy for prostate cancer.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer is most often used in men who have early-stage prostate cancer. But cryotherapy for prostate cancer may also be a treatment option in some men whose prostate cancer has returned following other treatments.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

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, including:

  • As the only (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 (salvage therapy)

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use