What is cryotherapy?

If the cancer is very small and only affects the surface layers of the skin, it may be possible to remove it by freezing it. This is called cryotherapy or cryosurgery. This treatment is only used occasionally.

Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on to the cancer to freeze it. It can be a bit painful when the liquid nitrogen is applied – some people describe the feeling as like a bee sting. After treatment, you may feel an aching or throbbing sensation in the area for a minute or two. In an hour or so, the area may blister. This is normal and the blister may contain blood. You may need to have fluid drained from the blister using a sterile needle, but the top of the blister should be left intact.

Keep the treated area covered with a dressing until a scab forms. About two weeks after your treatment, the scab drops off and the cancer cells should have cleared. You may have a white scar in the area. Occasionally, you may need more than one cryotherapy treatment to get rid of the cancer completely.