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New Treatments For Prostate Cancer

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What are cryotherapy, HIFU and PDT?

There are three exciting new treatments for prostate cancer on the horizon. 

1. Cryotherapy – a form of treatment that involves freezing the prostate with liquid nitrogen

Cryotherapy is currently used to treat some skin cancers, as well as in wart removal1. Crytotherapy techniques have improved in recent years making it a potential treatment for prostate cancer, although current research suggests that cryotherapy has similar side effects to current treatments like surgery and radiotherapy2.

2. High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) – heating the prostate

HIFU uses high frequency sound waves capable of killing cancer cells but leaving healthy cells untouched3. This treatment has the potential to dramatically reduce the common side effects experienced with other prostate cancer treatments3. It is likely that HIFU would be offered in conjunction with either surgery or radiotherapy3.

3. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – Using light to damage the prostate after the prostate has been exposed and sensitised to a photosensitising drug.

PDT, also called photoradiation therapy, phototherapy, or photochemotherapy, is currently used in the treatment of skin cancer4.

When will new prostate treatments become available?

All three of these revolutionary treatments for prostate cancer are still in their experimental stages. It may be some time before there is enough data to understand how effective they may be in treating prostate cancer compared to existing treatments.

Mr Christopher Eden
Consultant Urologist

1. MacMillan Cancer Support – Cryotherapy for skin cancer. Date last updated: 01.09.2011. Website:
2. Cancer Research UK – Cryotherapy for prostate cancer. Date last updated: 01.11.2010. Website:
3. Cancer Research UK – High intensity focused ultrasound. Date last updated: 29.09.2011. Website:
4. Cancer Research UK – Photodynamic therapy. Date last updated: 18.01.2012. Website:


10519 Revised November 2012 2012

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