Types of cryotherapy
There are two types of cryotherapy.
- Whole-prostate cryotherapy freezes the whole prostate including healthy tissue.
- Focal cryotherapy freezes only the areas of the prostate where the cancer is. This means less healthy tissue is frozen compared to whole-prostate cryotherapy.
Focal cryotherapy isn’t as widely available in the UK as whole-prostate cryotherapy. So when we talk about cryotherapy, we’re referring to whole-prostate cryotherapy.
In the UK cryotherapy is only available in specialist centres or as part of a clinical trial. This is because it is newer than some other treatments, and we don’t know as much about how well it works in the long term, including the risk of side effects. Read more about clinical trials.
Other treatment options
Other treatment options for localised prostate cancer include:
- active surveillance
- watchful waiting
- surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy)
- external beam radiotherapy
- brachytherapy- a type of internal radiotherapy.
You may also be offered high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Like cryotherapy, HIFU might only be available in specialist centres or as part of a clinical trial.