Stage migration has led to an increased incidence of localized and low-risk prostate cancer. Intermediate-term data are emerging on the efficacy of cryotherapy, but direct comparison to other therapeutic modalities is difficult as the parameters for recurrence are not well defined. Studies using the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology and the Phoenix (nadir plus 2) criteria for biochemical recurrence show that primary cryotherapy appears to be comparable for low-risk prostate cancer as other treatment modalities. In addition, health-related quality-of-life measures have improved with the most recent third-generation systems demonstrating low incontinence and urethrorectal fistula rates. Erectile dysfunction is high with whole gland ablation, but focal therapy may reduce these rates while still ablating unilateral cancerous tissue. Prostate cryotherapy for localized prostate cancer is an evolving but viable therapeutic option. Long-term data are still needed to establish a definitive role for cryosurgery in prostate cancer treatment.
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