Cold Healing

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It is hard to imagine that certain diseases may be treated by cold; today, however, we have cryosurgery—Cryo meaning icy cold in Greek. Cryosurgery is the use of extreme cold—nitrogen, carbon dioxide, Argon gas, and freeze sprays—to damage and inhibit the growth of abnormal cells and some tumor cells; it can be used in removing skin warts, tags, and moles. It has shown great success in treating external skin tumors and some internal ones, such as liver cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer, and some cervical disorders.

The most commonly used liquid in cryosurgery is liquid nitrogen as its temperature is -196°C. The lesion is frozen, then it turns into scabs that fall off in one to four weeks. In internal tumors, a cryoprobe is used to reach the diseased organ. Doctors use ultrasound to be able to guide the probe to the correct place, making the procedure more accurate, while avoiding damaging healthy tissues and organs around the lesion. Once liquid nitrogen reaches the tissue, ice crystals begin to appear around the probe, leading to a very fast drop in this tissue temperature, causing a thermal shock that kills the tumor cell. After that, the frozen tissues thaw, and the body absorbs it.

Cryosurgery can be used as a safe method in some bone cancers, as it is more localized, so it decreases the risk of joint damage that may occur after using the other conventional methods—chemotherapy and radiation. It is also safe in the first stage of liver cancer with old patients and/or patients with another medical history that does not allow them to use conventional methods.

We cannot deny the advantages of cryosurgery, as it only needs a small incision, or by just applying it over the skin. Moreover, the procedure takes only a few seconds to minutes to be completed, as the penetration power of the cold is 1 mm per 5 seconds. The recovery time is very short as well, with no need for a hospital stay or a short stay. There is no need to cover the lesion except in certain cases. Cryosurgery is also less expensive than other methods and more accurate.

On the other hand, like any other tumor removal method, cryosurgery may have side effects, but they are less severe than other methods. Its side effects depend on the site of the lesion. For cervical tumors in females, it will not affect female fertility, but may cause cramps and bleeding. In treating prostate cancer in males, it may cause infertility. Scars and swelling may appear in skin cancer treatment and bone fractures are likely to happen a long time after bone cryosurgery. Unfortunately, the long-term effect of cryosurgery is still unknown, as it needs more time to be noticed.

Scientists are still working on improving such methods to make them more applicable and able to heal more types of tumors.

 

References

cancer.gov

consultingroom.com

healthline.com

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