During cryotherapy treatment, the doctor freezes the cancer cells to kill them. Cryotherapy is considered a local treatment, which means it specifically targets the treatment area and does not affect cancer cells in other parts of the body. Because doctors focus cryotherapy on a specific area, the technique is designed to reduce damage to nearby healthy tissue. One advantage of cryosurgery is that the procedure may be repeated if necessary. Because it is less invasive than traditional surgery, cryotherapy may help reduce pain, bleeding and recovery time.
Cryotherapy may be used to treat tumors outside the body, such as skin cancer. For these external tumors, liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the cancerous cells.
Cryotherapy may also be used to treat tumors inside the body. For internal tumors, liquid nitrogen or argon gas flows through a long, thin, insulated tube. Using image guidance and endoscopy, our doctors place a probe on the tumor or obstruction and freeze the cells. After the procedure, the tissue is absorbed by the body or removed.
Managing cryotherapy side effects
Patients undergoing cryotherapy may experience some side effects, although they may be less severe than those associated with surgery or other cancer treatments. Side effects depend on the location of the tumor and other factors.
Our medical oncologists will discuss with you the potential treatment-related side effects and the supportive therapies available to manage them. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists, naturopathic clinicians and other supportive care clinicians will work together with your care team to help you manage the side effects and improve your quality of life.
Learn more about lung cancer treatments