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Cancer Treatments and Side Effects

Cryotherapy, an option for cancer treatment

Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy is also known as cryosurgery. This procedure is performed in the clinic / hospital and quite similar to the technique used with liquid nitrogen for freezing warts. Cryosurgery is a type of surgery that involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal tissues, such as tumours. For this procedure, doctors use spray or cotton swab or metal device called a cryoprobe to apply extremely cold liquid nitrogen to the cancer.

When liquid nitrogen has a temperature between -346 and -320°F, it instantly freezes nearly anything that’s in contact with it. In the case of human tissue, it can kill and destroy cells upon contact.

Potential Side-effects of Cryotherapy

This therapy is good for treating or reducing nerve irritation, but sometimes patients may feel unusual sensations in tissues. Cryosurgery does have risks, but they’re considered lower than other cancer treatments, such as surgery and radiation and these side effects are temporary.

The side-effects of associated with cryosurgery include the following:

  • damage to nearby healthy tissue or vessels
  • ulcers
  • scarring
  • blisters
  • infection
  • loss of sensation if nerves are affected
  • pain
  • sexual dysfunction
  • white skin at the site of the surgery

Experts know little about how whole-body cryotherapy might affect the body, though the risks are clear such as loss of consciousness or asphyxiation resulting from diminished oxygen levels in the chamber and low temperature hazards—namely, frostbite, burns, and eye injuries.

Conclusion: Advances in cryosurgery technology have dramatically reduced the long-term side effects once associated with the treatment. More studies are needed on the long-term side effects and effectiveness of cryosurgery.

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