Cryotherapy is a type of surgery that destroys cancer cells by freezing them. The surgeon takes care to try to keep healthy cells and tissue from being frozen along with the cancer cells.
Several different procedures can be used to freeze cancer cells. For instance, to treat skin cancer, cells are usually frozen using liquid nitrogen that may be sprayed or applied right on the skin. To treat tumors in the lung, a thin tube is put into the lung tumors. The tip of the tube applies intense cold to the tumor, destroying the cancer. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.
Cryotherapy may be used to treat cancers of the skin, liver, cervix, prostate, bone, lung and for various pediatric cancers.