New advancements in the field of cryosurgery involve freezing cancerous tissue to extremely cold temperatures in order to kill the cells. At Salem Community Hospital, urologists use cryosurgery for the treatment of small kidney cancers.
"Cryotherapy treatment, also called ablation or cryoablation, is a very minimally invasive approach to treatment that is transforming the care of prostate and kidney cancers," explained Urologist Michael Scolieri, M.D. "In traditional surgeries for these cancers, physicians make large incisions and cut out the disease. However, using cryotherapy, urologists can freeze the cancer, destroying it at its site. This leaves the surrounding normal tissues intact."
The physicians of Northeastern Ohio Urological Surgeons are the only urologists between the Cleveland and Pittsburgh region, who perform cryotherapy to treat these types of cancers. The practice's affiliated physicians include Bradford Black, M.D., Michael Scolieri, M.D., and Christopher Stiff, M.D.; whose offices are located in Salem and Alliance.
Treatment of Early Stage Kidney Cancers
"For people who have early-stage kidney cancers, we can use cryotherapy to treat these tumors," added Dr. Scolieri. "After a local anesthesia is administered, a small puncture with a needle is made in the person's back and a special tool called a cryoprobe is inserted into the center of the tumor. The tumor is located and monitored using a real-time computed tomography (CT) scan.
"After the tumor has been precisely located, argon gas is injected and used to form ice at the end of the needle. Because cancer cells are more sensitive to cold than regular cells, the freezing destroys the cancer cells. Special care is taken not to damage the person's surrounding healthy tissues. After cryosurgery, the frozen tissue thaws and is naturally absorbed by the body.
"Some patients are able to go home the same day of the procedure, while others may stay overnight in the hospital. Most people are able to resume their normal activities within one to two weeks."
Advantages of Cryosurgery
"Cryosurgery offers many advantages over other methods of cancer treatment," Dr. Scolieri continued. "It is less invasive than surgery, involving only a small puncture with a needle or insertion of the cryoprobe through the skin. Consequently, pain, bleeding, and other complications of surgery are minimized."
"This procedure may also be less expensive than other treatments and requires a shorter recovery time and a shorter hospital stay, if any at all. Sometimes cryosurgery can be done using only local anesthesia.
"In addition, because urologists can focus cryotherapy treatment on a limited area, they can avoid the destruction of nearby healthy tissue," he said. "The treatment can be safely repeated and may be used along with other standard treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Furthermore, it can be used for patients who are not good candidates for conventional surgery, because of their age or other medical conditions."
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Brachytherapy is an advanced treatment for prostate cancer that has fewer side effects than many other treatments. "This procedure uses radiation therapy to kill tumors," Dr. Scolieri stated. "Special radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate gland using an ultrasound to guide the technique. These tiny seeds deliver a specific dose of radiation to the prostate gland for weeks or months and then become inert.
"This is one of the most effective options for many men whose cancer is in an early stage.
The radiation kills or arrests the growth of the cancer with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This helps prevent incontinence and preserve the nerves that allow for erection."
Michael Scolieri, M.D., is a board certified urologist affiliated with Salem Community Hospital's Medical Staff. For more information about these procedures, call local urologists Dr. Bradford Black, Dr. Michael Scolieri or Dr. Christopher Stiff at their offices located at 2360 Southeast Boulevard in Salem 330-337-1134, or at 885 South Sawburg Avenue, Suite 105 in Alliance 330-823-1112.