Reducing the Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatments with HIFU

April 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

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When you go for prostate cancer treatment, there is need to keep in mind that you are likely to experience side effects. This fact is not new because in virtually all kinds of medical treatments, there could be some side effects. What matters is how severe these side effects would be. In prostate cancer treatments, the side effects are usually severe and could be worse than even the symptoms of the conditions. For this reason, you should have realistic expectations when going for treatments.

  If you must know, some of the severe effects of undergoing prostate cancer treatments include: erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and damage to surrounding healthy cells, etc. These could be more pronounced with treatments like radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) and radiation therapy.

The question now is this, should we avoid prostate cancer treatment because of the discomforts these side effects? No, of course! The good news today is that there is a new study that suggests an effective treatment that can reduce the side effects of surgery and radiation significantly. Here is an excerpt from the publication relating to this recent study:

(CBS News) Surviving prostate cancer may lead to long-lasting problems for men because surgery and radiation may cause serious side effects. Now, according to a new U.K. study, a safer ultrasound treatment may leave survivors with fewer side effects.

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The research, published in the April 17 Lancet Oncology, showed that using experimental sound wave treatment known as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to target specific cancer sites reduced men’s risk of impotence and urinary incontinence.

There will be an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. in 2012 and the disease will cause 28,170 deaths, according to the National Cancer Institute. As of now, there are more than 2 million American men have survived prostate cancer, the American Cancer Society said. This includes actor Ryan O’Neal, who recently announced to the he is expected to recover from stage 2 prostate cancer, CBS News reported.

Men with prostate cancer who undergo traditional treatments have a 50 percent chance of a “perfect outcome” of controlling the cancer, and having no side effects like erectile dysfunction or urinary leakage, the researchers said in a news release. This study showed that this new form of treatment could give men a 90 percent chance of reaching that outcome.

The HIFU study tested 41 patients. The doctors used MRI scans of the men’s prostates to find the areas affected by tumors. Then the HIFU vibrated a spot on the tissue about the size of a grain of rice until it reached temperatures of 176 degrees F to 194 degrees F, according to statements researchers made to the Telegraph.

After a year, none of the subjects had urinary incontinence, only 10 percent reported erectile dysfunction and 95 percent of the patients were cancer free. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the entire process cost about $4000, a bargain when compared to the average price of $7170 for treating prostate cancer with a surgical method.

“This could offer a transformation of the way we treat prostate cancer,” lead researcher Dr. Hashim Ahmed, a urological surgeon at the University College Hospital in London, told BBC News. It’s a cost-effective treatment that could “offer men with early prostate cancer an opportunity to treat their disease, but with very few side-effects,” he said.

Another positive about HIFU treatment is doesn’t involve incisions, cutting down on recovery time. Standard therapy involves treating the whole prostate either with radiotherapy or surgery. It can damage surrounding tissue, leading to urinary incontinence in five to 25 percent of cases, erections insufficient for intercourse in 30 to 70 percent of cases and rectal problems in five to ten percent of cases, according to the press release. Read the complete publication here

So, there is now a great chance of treating prostate cancer effectively with minimal side effects. With the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) treatments, you don’t worry much about how prostate cancer affects you. Recovery for invasive treatments can be achieved with ease if the HIFU treatments are applied effectively.

You should visit your doctor now to get more information about how to reduce the major side effects of invasive prostate cancer treatments through the application of the HIFU treatments. There is, after all, a light on the tunnel as you can now avoid the severe side effects of radical prostatectomy and radiation treatments. Your doctor can provide you with more information.


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