Putting the Freeze on Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is to men, what breast cancer is to women,  scary and deadly serious.
But if it's found early, it's treatable. And a new procedure may help more men survive prostate cancer. It's called cryo-therapy. Instead of cutting away the cancer, doctors can now freeze it away. It's new to this area, and only a few men have had it done in Cape Girardeau.

But cryo-therapy may soon be the top option for men with widespread prostate cancer. Dr. Paul Thompson, a urologist who does the procedure, says, "You can also treat localized prostate cancer. But if its extended out past the prostate, that's where people failed our surgical procedures. So this is for people with prostate cancer that spreads outside the prostate."

It singles out the bad tissue, and then freezes it. But before that's done, the prostate has to be mapped out, and then the probes have to be set in place. Dr. Thompson says, "So we'll have four probes across the bottom and then we'll take some thermal probes. There are the neurovascular bundles, so we'll want to put a probe right there."

Once everything's set in place, the freezing process begin. "We're trying to get that temperature of the prostate to minus 40 degrees centigrade. That's really cold. As soon as we're at minus 40, cell death, it's done, just like that," Dr. Thompson says. The procedure takes about two hours, and the patients who have it done are admitted and released from the hospital the same day. Dr. Thompson says, "You have a small, super pubic catheter, that if you go home, and in case you have any problems. We'll see you in a week, you take that back out, and you're back to full activity soon there after."