HIFU Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer

HIFU Focal therapy

The High Intensity Focused Ultrasound commonly known as HIFU, electroporation or NanoKnife targets and destroys cancerous cells using electricity or heat. The ultrasound energy is delivered using a probe. This treatment preserves and avoids removal of healthy prostate tissue so as to minimise related side-effects. The procedure is typically done whilst under general anesthetic.

Although patients occasionally return home on the same day of this minimally invasive procedure, everyday activities can’t be resumed for a few days. As the prostate may be swollen and patients may be on strong painkillers it can be difficult to urinate. If urination is a problem a catheter is typically fitted to help patient’s drain their bladder effectively. Despite this fast recovery time, secondary treatments and ongoing consultation should be expected.

HIFU Focal Therapy
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MRI monitoring

High quality MRI scans are key to the planning, ongoing monitoring and further delivery of HIFU focal therapy. Annual MRI scans, a patient’s PSA score must also be repeated regularly to quickly identify and locate any cancer which has gone untreated or that has developed following treatment.

The advantages and disadvantages of HIFU focal therapy

HIFU affords a patients quick recovery, return to physical exercise and resumption of everyday activity usually within two weeks. Despite short-term inconveniences and undesirable side effects such as incontinence, discomfort and possible use of a catheter, HIFU focal therapy is a far less invasive, hence more favourable treatment option.

Surgical accuracy and a surgeon’s specific experience are key aspects in the success of HIFU focal therapy and the inherent preservation of healthy prostate tissue.

Where abnormalities are identified, prostate cancer patients will also require annual check-ups for cancer via repeat biopsies or MRI scans. Hormone therapy may be also be used in conjunction with focal therapy and further treatment options such a such as nerve-sparing prostatectomy may also be discussed.

Focal therapy candidates

Diagnosis usually dictates the most appropriate treatment for prostate cancer patients, but choosing HIFU focal therapy from the comprehensive range of treatments available can prove difficult. Patients should carefully consider their preferences, the importance of peace of mind, their sexual and continence functionality and the mental toll of attending ongoing assessment and treatments.

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