HIFU Treatment for Prostate Cancer

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June 5th, 2014

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment for prostate and other forms of cancer where intense, concentrated sound waves traveling at a high frequency are sent into the cancerous tissue to heat it and kill it off (cancerresearchuk.org). For prostate cancer, since the gland inhabits an area deep within the body, the probe emitting is inserted into the rectum for this treatment. In the medical field this is called a transrectal probe. From this position the ultrasound waves can be concentrated on the prostate directly. HIFU is an effective treatment in combating prostate cancer. It is generally used when the cancer is first diagnosed or when a patient is experiencing a recurrence of the disease. HIFU is a new treatment however, so long term results are still unknown. Some trials suggest that HIFU be used instead of radiotherapy or surgery to treat prostate cancer that is localized, that is to say that hasn’t spread to other tissues in the body. HIFU has minimal side effects (prostatecancer.ca). You won’t have to stay in the hospital for very long after treatment. It also is minimally invasive. It is expensive however. The long term effects are still unknown. It may not be as effective as other treatments in controlling the cancer. And it has an effect of scarring the prostate.
Some of the side effects include urine leakage also known as urinary incontinence, infection and fistula development. A fistula is an opening in the bowl or urinary system. This treatment is best for localized prostate cancer for patients who are advanced in their years that have a low to moderate risk of dying from the disease and have a life expectancy of around ten years (nih.gov). Talk to your doctor or oncologist if you fall into this description and are suffering from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. Discuss all of the treatment options available to you. Make sure to visit more than one specialist, talk over the results of the test and treatment options with your loved ones and decide which option is right for you. Though you may have prostate cancer, treatment may not always be proper or necessary in all instances. Some cancers are so slow growing that a man of a certain age will never pass away from it. Others move quickly and can go metastatic, meaning spread to other parts of the body and endanger the patient’s life. Your age, the type of cancer you have, its rate of growth, your overall health and other factors will help you and your healthcare provider decide which treatment option, if any, is best for you.

HIFU

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