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Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer

UC San Diego Health is currently the only health care provider in the region offering cryotherapy for treating non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

The minimally invasive procedure is performed by urologist J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, a national leader in the treatment, who is actively researching ways to improve its effectiveness.

Read a Q&A on cryotherapy with Dr. Parsons.

What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy, or cryosurgery as it is sometimes called, is a treatment that involves freezing cancer cells and cutting off their blood supply. During the procedure, needles containing a liquid gas are inserted through the skin under the scrotum into the prostate. Ultrasound and MRI guide the needles directly to the tumor and monitor freezing of cancerous cells, thus limiting damage to nearby healthy tissue.

Who Is a Candidate for Cryosurgery?

  • Men with early-stage prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate gland
  • Men who have previously had radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer
  • Men who cannot have surgery or radiation therapy because of their age or other medical problems
  • Men with non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer who want to avoid surgery and radiation

Advantages of Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer

  • It is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure with fewer complications than surgery
  • It can be repeated
  • Treatment can be focused on a limited area, avoiding the destruction of nearby healthy tissue
  • It can help prevent or delay the need for hormone therapy, which causes impotence

Read more about cryotherapy for prostate cancer in our Health Library.