How HIFU is Changing the way Prostate Cancer Treatment is Approached
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is a revolutionary prostate cancer treatment now available in the United States. After decades of success in Europe and Asia, the FDA authorized HIFU for the ablation of prostate tissue late in 2015. This technology provides an alternative prostate cancer treatment option for men who wish to attain a higher quality of life than other prostate cancer treatment options can offer.
Who Qualifies for HIFU?
It is important to make the decision of which prostate cancer treatment will be most effective by taking into consideration your personal circumstances and the guidance of your urologist. HIFU can be utilized as a supplemental treatment for patients also undergoing a radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy. For localized prostate cancer, you may be offered HIFU instead of surgery or other treatments. HIFU may also be used if prostate cancer has recurred, as it is safe to repeat treatments.
How Does HIFU Work?
HIFU treatment for prostate cancer is minimally invasive and conducted as a same-day outpatient procedure. It is robotic, and there are very low chances of side effects. The procedure begins by putting the patient under general anesthesia or localized anesthesia. HIFU utilizes targeted ultrasound waves that must be able to directly reach the prostate. In order to achieve this, your doctor will insert a probe into the rectum. With extreme precision, ultrasound waves will target the cancer cells within the prostate. This aims to safely kill the cancer cells without affecting the surrounding tissues. HIFU lasts between 1 and 3 hours, and patients can go home once it is complete.
How Does HIFU Compare to Other Treatments?
HIFU is the ideal prostate cancer treatment for many patients because it has very few side effects and can be repeatedly performed. It allows patients with prostate cancer to attain a higher quality of life that many other treatments do not afford. Other prostate cancer treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy can have severe side effects that can greatly impact a man’s quality of life. For example, many men are left with sexual dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence. HIFU has much lower instances of these side effects.