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Cryogenic treatment for cancer (also known as cryotherapy, cryoablation or cryosurgery) is the use of extreme cold to freeze and destroy tumors.

To administer cryogenic treatment, a doctor inserts a hollow, needle-like probe through the skin and into or near a tumor. Ultrasound, CT or MRI is used to guide the probe. Cold gases (liquid nitrogen or argon) circulate through the probe. At its tip, the probe forms a ball of ice crystals, which surrounds and “freezes” the tumor.

We may use cryogenic treatment to destroy lung tumors that cannot be surgically removed, as well as obstructions in the airway. Cryogenic treatment can also be used to treat localized liver cancer, prostate cancer and kidney cancer, as well as early stage skin cancers and bone tumors.

Benefits of cryogenic treatment include:

  • It is less invasive than traditional, open surgery. It requires insertion of the probe through the skin to reach the tumor and, in some cases, a small incision.
  • Because the treatment is focused on the tumor, it minimizes harm to nearby healthy tissues.
  • In some instances, it can be used to treat tumors when surgery is not an option.
  • It requires a shorter hospital stay and recovery time compared to traditional surgical procedures.
  • The treatment can be repeated if new tumors develop.
  • It can be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments.
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