When Prostate Cancer Strikes, Cryoablation is a Viable Treatment Option

Vol. 14, No. 1
Winter 2004

  • $265,000 Grant to Help Winthrop Further Minority Health Outreach Efforts

  • One Million Dollar Gift to Help Build Highly Advanced, Expanded Interventional Cardiology Pavilion at Winthrop

  • Giving New Meaning to the Phrase 'Beating the Odds'

  • Winthrop's Pediatric Craniofacial Team... Reshaping Children's Lives Through Cutting-Edge Surgery

  • Winthrop's Institute for Cancer Care Provides the "One-Two" Punch Needed to Battle Cancer

  • Five Cents Goes Along Way in Helping Kids with Cancer

  • Winthrop Provides A Light at the End of the Tunnel for Families, Patients with Rare Genetic Disorder Known as Prader-Willi Syndrome

  • Christopher Dowd's Story

  • $400,000 Pledge from Jay's World Childhood Cancer Foundation Goes Toward Construction of Pediatric Oncology Rooms in New Inpatient Center

  • Celebrating New Life... Celebrating the Miracle of Love

  • When Prostate Cancer Strikes, Cryoablation is a Viable Treatment Option

  • Winthrop Acquires Most Advanced CT Scanner for Fastest, Most Accurate Imaging of the Human Body

  • Pat Lyons Foundation Donates $30,000 to Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids Funds Raised at First Annual Golf Tournament in Memory of 9-11 Firefighter

  • Islanders Visit

  • "The future ain't what it used to be,"

  • $265,000 Grant to Help Winthrop Further Minority Health Outreach Efforts

    Back to Publications

  • Mitchell Efros, MD (left) and Louis Faiella, MD (right) with the advanced computerized technology used for cryoablation surgery for prostate cancer.
    A relatively new procedure at Winthrop-University Hospital is changing the future for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Cryoablation surgery, a cutting-edge technique that utilizes specialized technology that actually freezes a tumor, destroys the cancer cells and leaves the prostate gland cancer free.

    According to Winthrop urologist Mitchell Efros, MD, "Cryoablation surgery is an excellent, minimally invasive treatment and alternative to surgery or radiation and brachytherapy (seed implantation). It is also the only definitive treatment available for salvage cases of radiation failures other than very risky surgical procedures that may lead to serious complications."

    Cryoablation surgery, which was initially performed as an alternative therapy after radical surgery or radiation and chemotherapy treatment failed to rid the patient of the cancer, is now being utilized as a first-line treatment for localized prostate cancer and, in some cases, kidney tumors.

    Winthrop is one of the region's leaders in the surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that requires no incision. Instead, tiny needles called cryoprobes, which regulate the freezing and temperature of the prostate, are inserted into the gland (the patient is under general anesthesia) guided by ultrasound images. Special argon gas, which flows through the cryoprobes, is used in the freezing process. Upon reaching the proper temperature, an ice ball forms in the organ. By maintaining these extremely cold temperatures for up to 10 minutes, the tumor and the cancerous cells are destroyed.

    Robert Edelman, MD (right) and Gary Oshinsky, MD (left), discuss the site of a prostate tumor.
    Throughout the procedure, which is performed by specially trained urological surgeons, temperature is very closely monitored. Once the freezing is complete, helium gas released through the cryoprobes is used in the thawing process. In addition, the use of a urethral warmer or warming catheter protects the urethra from the cold temperatures, eliminating damage to surrounding tissue.

    Winthrop urologist Robert Edelman, MD explained that there are also fewer side effects with cryoablation than with any other treatment for prostate cancer.

    "After the procedure, most patients are home the same day or the next day," he said. "The incidence of injury to the bladder or the rectum are far less than with radiation and most patients are back to work within one week."

    In many cases, side effects such as incontinence or erectile dysfunction are less severe with cryosurgery than other treatment options for prostate cancer. Also, because the procedure is minimally invasive, complications such as blood loss and the risk of infection decrease dramatically. In cases of cancer recurrence, cryoablation could be repeated. In addition, PSA levels (an indicator for prostate cancer) often remain at or close to zero following the procedure.

    Alfred Kohan, MD shows a tumor of the kidney, which he treats using the cryoablation procedure, along with his partner Theodore Felderman, MD.
    "Cryoablation is also very effective on aggressive tumors that do not respond to other therapies," stated Louis Faiella, MD, attending urologist at Winthrop. "Even after other treatment modalities have failed, cryosurgery is a promising, curative option."

    Winthrop urologist Gary Oshinsky, MD, agreed, adding, "Cryoablation has proven to be a very effective treatment. The highly advanced technology allows us to precisely target the tumor and destroy the cancer within the prostate gland. This procedure has given new hope to many patients."

    The procedure has also been a successful treatment for early stage kidney cancer. According to Alfred Kohan, MD, Director of Winthrop's Center for Bladder Health, "Small renal tumors have been treated with this minimally invasive technology successfully and with short hospitalization as compared to traditional surgery."

    A Healthcare Choice, A Lifestyle Decision

    The procedure is quickly becoming a preferred method of treatment for prostate cancer among many patients, not only because there are less side effects, but also because of its relatively small impact on a patient's lifestyle.

    For more information on cryoablation surgery or referrals to a urologist at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.

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