Oct 15 2009 By Lauren Crooks
GLASGOW doctors are pioneering a treatment for prostate cancer - by giving tumours frostbite.
During the cryotherapy procedure the prostate is frozen and thawed, shattering and killing cancer cells.
The treatment is available to Scots patients whose cancer has returned despite radiotherapy.
Instead of major and risky surgery, patient have needles - or ice probes - inserted directly into the prostate to be frozen.
Professor of urology and surgical oncology Hing Leung said: "Not all patients are suitable for this treatment but where traditional routes have failed, cryotherapy does offer real hope for patients.
"Cryotherapy is minimally invasive and the results for cancer control have been extremely favourable for everyone we have treated."
Leung added that while it is difficult to measure if the treatment has improved life expectancy, blood tests known as prostate specific antigen, which monitor the cancer, have shown positive results.
He said: "So far, all patients have achieved an undetectable level of PSA. These results are encouraging and exciting."
Since the Scottish Cryotherapy Service treated its first patient in 2008, 13 Scots have undergone the procedure.
Retired Glasgow University professor Patrick Smith, 67, said: "Within days of the treatment, I was gardening again and getting on with life. No painkillers were need after treatment either.
"I feel very fortunate to have had this treatment and since having cryotherapy, I'm leading a normal life."