PITTSBURGH - More than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year according to the American cancer society. In most cases, surgical removal of the gland is considered the gold standard of treatment, but results of a new study suggest a new treatment might benefit some patients.
Ice on the tip of a probe; focal cryoablation is freezing and killing cancer in the prostate. Bob Wilson traveled hundreds of miles to have this treatment instead of the complete removal of his prostate.
“I want to continue to live as normally as I can for as long as I can and there’s a lot of side effects with radical prostatectomy that I didn’t want.” Wilson said.
A new study shows the results of focal cryoablation on 70 patients followed for an average of 10 years. Continence after first treatment was 100 percent. Potency after first treatment was 94 percent and disease-free survival for all patients was 90 percent.
Dr. Gary Onik, MD, Interventional Oncologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was amazed by the results.
“And what we found is that in our group, high risk patients had the exact same 90 percent chance of being disease free. That’s remarkable.” Dr. Onik said.
George Tholke is one of the patients in the study. The day after the procedure, he played tennis. “To me it’s a slam dunk, it’s logical. You can go back and redo it if anything is wrong.” Tholke said.
Dr. Onik has been using a 3-D mapping technique to gather tissue samples for a more precise diagnosis. He believes most prostate cancer patients could be candidates for this treatment; freezing a common cancer in its tracks.
He also says men with advanced prostate cancer may not benefit from the focal cryoablation. This is the first long term study of this treatment and researchers say the results need to be confirmed with a larger patient group.