Calling focal cryoablation a "male lumpectomy" reflects the origins of this approach in the breast-sparing surgery that replaced radical mastectomy as the preferred treatment for breast cancer, said Onik. Unlike breast lumpectomy, a surgical lumpectomy for prostate cancer is not technically feasible; so to treat just a portion of the prostate, minimally invasive cryoablation is needed. Cryoablation (or cryo or cryotherapy) spares as much as possible of the prostate gland and its neurovascular bundles, limiting the side effects of bladder control problems (incontinence) and erectile dysfunction (impotence) that result from more radical prostate cancer treatments. It also represents an advantage over "watchful waiting," because all treatment options are preserved. "Any risks are fewer and lesser in intensity than surgery; so if you have the equivalent chance of cancer being cured with far less chance of having any complications, why wouldn't you choose it?" asked Onik.
"There is no question that we can eradicate prostate cancer (when that cancer has not spread to other parts of the body) by freezing it and that there is a better way to 'map' the disease," said Onik. He studied 120 men who had focal cryoablation over the past 12 years, including testing the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. Of those patients, 112 (93 percent) had no evidence of cancerin spite of 72 being labeled medium to high risk for cancer recurrence. "There were no local recurrences in the areas we treated, and with the ability to re-treat the 7 percent of patients who developed a focus of cancer at a different site in th
|Contact: Maryann Verrillo|
Society of Interventional Radiology