Cryotherapy is available as a treatment for early prostate cancer as part of a clinical trial. It is only carried out in some hospitals in the UK.

It’s suitable for very small prostate cancers and can’t be used for cancers near the outer edge of the prostate.

Cryotherapy is carried out under general or spinal anaesthetic. A number of metal probes are put through the skin and into the affected area of the prostate gland. The probes contain liquid nitrogen, which freezes and destroys the cancer cells. Local anaesthetic is used to numb the treatment area, but the treatment can still cause pain.

After the cryotherapy procedure, a tube (catheter) is inserted into the bladder through the skin of the abdomen to drain urine. This is left in place for 1–2 weeks. You may need painkillers for a few days. Men who’ve had this treatment can have radiotherapy or surgery if their cancer comes back.

The possible side effects of cryotherapy include erection problems and urine leakage. Long-term side effects are not yet known.

Your doctor will tell you more about this treatment and any trials if they are suitable for you.

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High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) uses high energy ultrasound to treat prostate cancer. It may be given as part of a clinical trial.