Doctors at Detroit Medical Center are treating prostate cancer with cryoablation, an innovative procedure that freezes cancer cells and preserves surrounding tissue. Patients usually return home the same day as the treatment.
Cell Freezing is an Option for Some Prostate Cancer Patients
Bill Symons received radiation treatment for prostate cancer at the age of 62. For the next seven years, everything seemed fine until a blood test showed his PSA to be 2.7. A subsequent test revealed that it had risen to 5. His cancer had returned.
That’s when Symons met with Dr. Michael Cher, Chief of Urology at DMC Harper University Hospital and Karmanos Cancer Institute, as well as a professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Dr. Cher recommended a minimally invasive procedure called prostate cryoablation, a treatment generally reserved for older patients and those who have experienced a recurrence of prostate cancer after radiation treatment.
Employing ultrasound guidance to place probes into the prostate gland, liquid gas is then injected into needles to freeze the tissue. The prostate tissue is thus destroyed, along with the cancer. The surrounding tissues remain unaffected.
“The whole procedure takes about two hours,” said Dr. Cher. “Within that period the prostate is frozen and thawed out and frozen and thawed out again. The needles are then removed and the patient is awakened. There are no stitches and no dressing because the patient has only needle holes in the skin,” he said. “Recovery is quick and, in most cases, the patient can go home the same day.”
“I was surprised that it was an outpatient procedure,” said Symons. “I entered the hospital in the morning and by two o’clock that day I was on the way back to my son’s house.”
Because of post-surgical swelling, patients leave the hospital with a urinary catheter that is removed in about a week. Also, some men experience a lasting reduction in sexual function.
“That’s why cryotherapy is a good procedure for men in, say, their seventies or older,” said Dr. Cher. “If a patient is already having problems with erectile dysfunction, cryotherapy doesn’t really make that much of a difference,” he said. “Understand, however, that with new variations of cryoablation that are performed on only part of the prostate, sexual function can often be preserved.”
Patients like Bill Symons are regularly followed up on after the procedure. They get regular PSA blood tests to monitor progress and are seen by a member of the urology team at DMC.
A week after his treatment, Symons was on the golf course, extolling the praises of the DMC. “I didn’t realize that all the hospitals team together,” he said. “I think the DMC is a world-class facility.”
For more information or to connect with a doctor at any DMC facility, call 1- 888- DMC- 2500.