Focal Cryoablation Improves Prostate Cancer Survival and Quality of Life

Focal Cryoablation Improves Prostate Cancer Survival and Quality of Life

A long-term study on men with prostate cancer, that took 10 years to complete, recently revealed that patients who elected to have their tumors removed via cryoablation or non-surgical freezing, exhibited increased cure rates compared to those who underwent the traditional radical prostatectomy or gland removal.

This groundbreaking technique was developed by Dr. Gary M. Onik, an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, who also presented the study’s findings last week, during the Radiological Society of North America meeting.

Dr. Onik is looking forward to more studies that can add evidence in support of cryoablation’s advanced efficacy, which he believes could be the key to significantly reduce prostate cancer-related deaths without compromising patients’ quality of life. While cryoablation is a recognized technique in the United States, it wasn’t until Dr. Onik published his latest findings that long-term data on the technique became available.

The study enrolled 75 patients with prostate cancer who had undergone cryoablation. All patients had an average follow up of 10 years, which conveniently allowed these findings to be compared with today’s conventional treatments. Dr. Onik explained that focal cryoablation or “male lumpectomy” utilizes a specially designed probe that freezes the tumor, without causing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Furthermore, it relies on noninvasive imaging technology to determine the probe’s precise target. “The treated tumor, left inside the body, acts like a cancer vaccine, using the patient’s natural defense mechanisms to prevent tumor recurrence in distant parts of the body”. Dr. Onik explained in a press release.

The study did not report any cancer-related deaths among the participants, with 90 percent originally deemed high risk for recurrence andfound to be cancer-free after follow-up. None of these patients become incontinent, and 94 percent did not have any issues with potency. The same was observed in a significantly reduced 50 percent of patients who underwent radical prostatectomy, with 16 percent becoming incontinent, and potency remaining in only 70 percent.

Dr. Onik claims these numbers show focal cryoablation has the potential to reduce prostate cancer death rate by up to 75 percent, without diminishing a patient’s quality of life.

To find out more about focal cryoablation and Dr. Onik’s practice, you can visit his website at

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