Targeted Treatment for Prostate Cancer Limits Side Effects
Targeted focal cryotherapy is an innovative treatment for prostate cancer that allows the surgeon to precisely target and destroy only the prostate tumors without harming the healthy parts of the prostate or surrounding nerves and tissue. Targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment offers many advantages for men who are appropriate candidates, including reduced risk of prostate cancer treatment side effects, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, which can occur with prostate surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Patients also experience faster recovery, less pain, and lower complication and infection rates.
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Targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment is an innovative treatment for prostate cancer that offers an effective alternative to radical prostatectomy or radiation treatment. Similar to the way breast cancer patients can choose lumpectomy to remove just the breast cancer tumor instead of total mastectomy that removes the entire breast, targeted focal cryotherapy is a treatment for prostate cancer that removes just the prostate cancer tumors while leaving the healthy prostate intact. By removing just the cancer, targeted focal cryotherapy eliminates the risk of damaging nerves and causing prostate cancer treatment side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
Targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment can be performed due to the data provided through an advanced 3D prostate biopsy that maps the exact location and size of each prostate cancer tumor. Prostate cancer, like all cancers, is not generally one “cancer” but rather clusters of cancerous cells that form multiple tumors within the prostate. During this treatment for prostate cancer, the specially trained physician eradicates each prostate cancer tumor by using argon and helium gases to freeze the tissue down to -40 degrees Celsius, which destroys the structure of the cancer cell. Subsequent thaw cycles heat the tissue back to around 60 degrees Celsius, which destroys the genetic structure of the cancer cell (DNA).
Targeted focal cryotherapy is performed in these steps:
- Using ultrasound guidance, the physician inserts tiny cryotherapy (freezing) needles through the perineum, the area of skin between the scrotum and the anus, into the prostate cancer lesion(s) found when we performed our 3D prostate biopsy.
- Once the needle(s) are in place, argon gas is introduced into the needle. When the gas reaches the point of the needle, it freezes the cancerous cells in the prostate to -40 degrees Celsius.
- Each tumor is thawed and refrozen at least twice during the procedure to tear the cancer cells apart and eradicate them.
Targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment, also called targeted focal therapy or TFT, allows surgeons to precisely pinpoint prostate cancer tumors and eliminate the cancerous cells through freezing. This technique preserves healthy prostate tissue and minimizes injury to surrounding nerves and tissue.
When compared with traditional treatment options such as prostate surgery (radical prostatectomy) or radiation therapy for prostate cancer, patients who are treated with targeted focal cryotherapy for prostate cancer benefit from:
- Lower complication rates
- Very low infection rate and risk of transfusion
- Quicker recovery time
- Less post-procedure pain
- Reduced prostate cancer treatment side effects, such as urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, or fecal incontinence, that are more likely with prostate surgery or radiation therapy
The decision about prostate cancer treatment is a personal one. Based on PSA levels, biopsy results, risk factors, and overall health, we work with each patient to develop a customized prostate health evaluation. We want to be sure to provide the most effective treatment for you and to educate each patient about the role of overall health, including weight management, activity level, and other lifestyle choices, as they relate to the best treatment that has optimal outcomes.
Many men who come to Precision Prostate Cancer Care after a high PSA level or a conventional core biopsy are seeking a second opinion and additional information before they decide on a treatment option. Our 3D prostate biopsy can provide that information by not just confirming the diagnosis, but by accurately detecting the size, location, and number of tumors.
Recommendation for treatment, including targeted focal cryotherapy (TFT), depends on many factors that are unique to each case. However, in general, a man is considered a viable candidate for targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment if the advanced 3D prostate biopsy finds that:
- the total volume of prostate cancer tumors is less than 30 percent of total prostate volume
- the prostate cancer tumors are confined within the prostate
- the prostate cancer tumors are a safe distance from vital organs, such as the urethra and rectum
- the cancer grade is less than or equal to Gleason 3+4=7
- in some older men, targeted focal cryotherapy may be an option with nearly and Gleason score
Based on results to date, about 40 percent of men who have a 3D prostate biopsy can be treated with targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment. For men whose cancer is more or less severe, we recommend other appropriate treatment options such as active surveillance, radiation therapy for prostate cancer, or prostate surgery. The best way to find out of you are a candidate for targeted focal cryotherapy is to set up a free phone consultation to discuss your case with one of our experts.
Qualified patients undergoing targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment are typically treated in about two hours and are able to go home the same day. The majority of our patients resume their daily activities within 24 hours. In our 12 years of conducting this procedure, none of our patients has developed any prostate cancer treatment side effects such as urinary incontinence or rectal injury (although a small risk for this injury still exists). And nearly 80 percent of our patients recovered the level of sexual activity they had before the operation within three to six months after treatment. (The ability of a patient to recover is strongly dependent on the cancer location in proximity to the erectile nerves.) A structured follow-up schedule and specialized counseling in diet and lifestyle complement this approach.
About 40 percent of patients who receive a 3D prostate biopsy will quality for targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment, which targets only the cancer cells in the prostate. Success depends on a number of factors including your Gleason score, cancer volume, age, PSA, and genomic profile found on tissue, urine and blood based prostate cancer biomarkers. At Precision Prostate Cancer Care, we will design a treatment plan ideally suited to maximize outcomes while minimizing treatment related side effects.
If either a traditional or advanced 3D prostate biopsy confirms a diagnosis of prostate cancer, it’s time to have a discussion with a urologist about your treatment options. Before making a decision, you’ll want to understand the stage of your cancer and your Gleason score, both of which can help your health care practitioner predict how quickly or aggressively your cancer might progress. Depending on those assessments, your doctor might recommend a range of treatment options including:
- Active surveillance. Sometimes called “watchful waiting,” this option is most appropriate for older men and those with very slow-growing cancers. It involves monitoring PSA levels closely and conducting periodic 12 core biopsies to see if cancer has grown or spread. We suggest all patients who want to consider active surveillance undergo an advanced 3D prostate biopsy to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
- Radiation therapy. There are two common types of radiation treatment for prostate cancer. In external beam radiation therapy, high-energy rays are focused on the prostate gland in an effort to kill early-stage cancerous cells. Typically this type of radiation will treat the entire prostate gland. With prostate brachytherapy, radioactive “seeds”—each about the length of a grain of rice (and about 1/4 of the diameter)—are inserted directly into the prostate. Unlike external beam radiation, some physicians are able to treat only the area or areas of cancer using brachytherapy. Both types of radiation therapy can cause side effects such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or erectile dysfunction.
- Prostate cancer surgery. Radical prostatectomy, also performed as robotic prostate surgery, is the most common treatment recommendation for men whose cancer is still confined to the prostate gland. During prostate surgery, the entire prostate and some surrounding tissue is removed. While prostatectomy is an effective treatment for many men, it can result in side effects including urinary incontinence and sexual impotence or erectile dysfunction. Research also has demonstrated no significant difference in outcomes between robotic prostatectomy and an open prostatectomy.
At Precision Prostate Cancer Care, we are here to provide a second opinion and peace of mind to men facing a prostate cancer diagnosis, or who may be at risk for having prostate cancer. Whether you have a high PSA, a positive (or negative) biopsy, or are just concerned about your prostate cancer risk, we can help. Through a customized evaluation and, if needed, a 3D prostate biopsy, we can more accurately determine the best treatment option for you and evaluate if you’re a candidate for targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment, a more precise prostate cancer treatment that can help preserve your prostate and your quality of life.
To learn more, schedule a free phone consultation or learn more about becoming a patient.