What is HIFU For Prostate Cancer?
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment option for prostate cancer. It’s a non-invasive alternative to surgery and radiation therapy. This treatment may be an option for men with early-stage prostate cancer or those with recurrent prostate cancer.
How Does HIFU Work?
HIFU utilizes focused ultrasound waves to heat and destroy cancerous tissue in the prostate gland. This minimally invasive approach precisely targets cancer cells while avoiding surrounding healthy tissue. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient treatment. There are generally fewer side effects and a shorter recovery than traditional treatments.
The HIFU Procedure
HIFU for prostate cancer is performed under general anesthesia or with a spinal epidural. An ultrasound is used so the urologist can visualize the prostate and target the tumor precisely.
High-intensity ultrasound waves are focused on the cancerous tissue within the prostate using a unit like the Sonoblate HIFU machine. These waves heat the tissue and destroy it. Because the beams are so precise and the urologist is able to see the tissue with the ultrasound probe, healthy tissue is not damaged.
After the procedure, patients will recover from anesthesia for a few hours but can return home the same day.
Following the HIFU treatment, patients may experience mild discomfort and urinary symptoms, which typically subside within a few weeks. Most individuals can return to their regular activities relatively quickly.
Benefits of HIFU for Prostate Cancer
There are several benefits of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound compared to other treatments for prostate cancer.
- Non-Invasive: HIFU is a non-surgical approach that does not require incisions or the removal of the entire prostate gland. This results in fewer complications and a quicker recovery.
- Precise Targeting: HIFU’s ability to focus on specific cancerous areas within the prostate minimizes damage to healthy tissue, reducing the risk of side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
- Reduced Side Effects: Compared to surgery and radiation therapy, HIFU has a lower risk of causing erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence, two common concerns for prostate cancer patients.
- Outpatient Procedure: HIFU is typically performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can return home the same day, avoiding lengthy hospital stays.
- Repeatable: In cases where cancer recurs, HIFU can be repeated.
Is HIFU Right For Me?
Not all prostate cancer patients are candidates for HIFU. Factors that are used to determine whether or not this treatment is a viable option include:
- Cancer Stage: HIFU is most effective for localized or early-stage prostate cancer. Large or more aggressive tumors may not respond well to HIFU.
- Prostate Size: Prostates of varying sizes can be treated with HIFU, but the procedure may be more challenging and less effective for men with very large prostates.
- Patient Age and Health: The patient’s overall health is considered when determining if HIFU is appropriate. Patients must be healthy enough to be anesthetized because this procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
- Patient Preference: Patient values, goals, and preferences play a significant role in the treatment decision-making process.
HIFU Treatment For Prostate Cancer
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound can be a beneficial treatment for prostate cancer since it’s non-invasive, has precise targeting, and has reduced side effects. If you or a loved one is dealing with prostate cancer, ask your urologist if HIFU is a potential treatment option.
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