Prostate Cancer Treatment – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

High-intensity ultrasound is an emerging treatment for various forms of cancer in which high-energy sound waves are used to destroy cancer cells in the place of other therapies like radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and most definitely radical prostatectomy. If you have questions such as ? can an ultrasound show prostate cancer, keep reading.

Also known as high intensity focused ultrasound (or HIFU), it ablates the cancerous cells of the mutated tissues using unexpected irradiation from high concentration focused ultrasound, effectively destroying them. During the HIFU procedure for the treatment of prostate cancer, sound waves have to heat the prostate tissue and raise its temperature until the cancerous cells are destroyed. The effort is in precisely focusing ultrasonic waves on specific areas of the prostate in order to eliminate the prostate cancer while maintaining minimal risks of affecting other tissue or organs.

Standard radiation therapy has failed to some extent in this regard because the ionizing radiation that it releases is harmful not only to the mutated cancerous tissue, but to healthy and normal cells as well. Although they eventually recover from the irradiation while the tumors die and are expelled, the times during which they are weak lowers the immunity of the patient, while he is also exposed to the consequences of the treatment.

HIFU aims at eliminating that unfortunate trend. It raises temperatures at the focal point of the sound waves to exceed the boiling point of water (100 °C/212 °F), and possesses an astounding ability to focus ultrasonic waves such that it leads to a relatively low occurrence of both incontinence and impotence, common side effects of other prostate cancer interventions. As a matter of fact, there is only a 0.6 percent chance of incontinence occurring for a patient treated with HIFU, and a 0 to 20 percent chance of impotence.

HIFU as prostate cancer treatment with ultrasound has not yet been perfected though, still largely in study and approval phases. However, according to preliminary international studies, it has a high success rate with a reduced risk of side effects, with 94 percent of patients who had PSA levels lower than 10ng/ml still remaining cancer free three years after treatment. There is some concern over the fact that those who did the experiments were the same people who manufactured the prototype, so more people are coming into the study with a more objective viewpoint to confirm that it is really the in-thing. Partly for this reason, HIFU is currently not approved for medical use in the United States, although a lot of folks in the UK are gearing for first dibs.

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