The most common cancer amongst men is prostate cancer. The treatment of localized prostate cancer is difficult as it normally progresses slowly, without showing any observable symptoms for many years.
The standard treatments for localized prostate cancer include radiotherapy (involves treating complete prostate) and surgery for removing the cancerous tissue. These results in damage of adjacent healthy tissues and may lead to usual side effects of urinary incontinence (observed in 5 to 20% cases) and erectile dysfunction (affecting 30 to 70% of men).
Alternatively, few men may choose not to undergo any active treatment, but have a regular follow up check of the condition, called as active surveillance.
HIFU Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Benefits Of HIFU Over Conventional Cancer Treatments
The conventional treatments for prostate cancer usually lead to certain side effects, like urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. But, with HIFU treatment, 89% of patients still showed erectile function and urinary continent. 95% of men with HIFU treatment do not show evidence of prostate cancer under an MRI scan.
HIFU is a non-invasive technique, which gives a respite from surgical procedures. It involves usage of high intensity ultrasound (HIFU) wave spectrum that effectively and safely destroys the cancerous tissues with very low level side effects. Sound waves are shown to help majority of prostate cancer patients, without inhibiting the sex life.
HIFU Success In Prostate Cancer
HIFU works on principle that concentrated sound waves over the specific body tissues causes tissues to get heated up and destroyed eventually. As prostate gland occurs deep inside the pelvic, therefore, HIFU is performed by utilizing an ultrasound probe that is inserted into the rectum, through back passage, known as transrectal probe. From there, an ultrasound beam is directed accurately over the prostate gland.
Now, men having prostate cancer can be treated with HIFU, without the need for an overnight hospital stay and saving themselves from the distressing side effects of the usual therapies. Research studies have shown that the focal HIFU offers the best outcome with no cancer recurrence after 12 months of the treatment, in 90% of the cases whereas, radiotherapy or surgery offer good outcome in 50% of the cases.
Focal HIFU for Localized Prostate Cancer
Focal HIFU is useful in pinpointing the specific tumors as small as rice or grain size, which may be present inside the prostate gland and helps in destroying them efficiently. Moreover, the damage to adjacent tissue is minimized.
Those with early prostate cancer have an option for more convenient treatment that treats the localized region and rescues one from development of life threatening symptoms. However, the HIFU treatment is still at an early stage of study and its safety and effectiveness has to be established on larger scale yet.
HIFU – Big Hope For Cancer Patients
The research studies of HIFU technique have shown promising results so far and researchers expect that even long term effects will be also favorable and equally good similar to other treatments employed currently. Several trials are being done on HIFU to check for its potential over radiotherapy and surgery, for individuals with localized prostate cancer.