Ultrasound Promises Hope for Prostate Cancer Patients

April 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Many Americans that have been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer now can hope to get treated of the condition without worrying much about the side effects of standard treatments. A result in a new clinical trial has indicated this. This is good news in as much as efforts to find a permanent cure for prostate cancer continues.

Prostate cancer affects many men today. It has been authoritatively confirmed that it is the second deadliest cancer for men after lung cancer. Those who are affected are mostly men that are aging. In most cases, those that are 50 years and above are diagnosed than younger men. Other risk factors for the condition include genes, diet, race, medication, and some kind of viral infection. If prostate cancer is detected early, there is a chance of getting good treatment. You can read the following online excerpt relating to the new   prostate treatment that promises fewer side effects:

A new type of prostate cancer treatment, which uses sound waves to selectively target individual cancer sites, could provide an alternative to traditional treatment with significantly fewer side effects, according to results from a clinical trial.

The researchers said the study is the first to use an experimental treatment known as high-intensity focused ultrasound to treat areas of cancer just a few millimeters in size. Focal therapy is similar in principle to the ‘lumpectomy’ operation commonly used as an alternative to a full mastectomy in breast cancer.

The results showed that 12 months after treatment, none of the 41 men in the trial had incontinence of urine and only one in 10 suffered from erectile dysfunction — both common side effects of conventional treatment. The majority of men (95%) were also cancer-free after a year.

“Our results are very encouraging,” Hashim Ahmed, MD, who led the study at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said in a news release. “We’re optimistic that men diagnosed with prostate cancer may soon be able to undergo a day-case surgical procedure, which can be safely repeated once or twice, to treat their condition with very few side effects. That could mean a significant improvement in their quality of life.”

Going forward, Ahmed said, “This study provides the proof-of-concept we need to develop a much larger trial to look at whether focal therapy is as effective as the current standard treatment in protecting the health of the men treated for prostate cancer in the medium and long term.”

Men with prostate cancer can live for years without their disease getting worse, and many are faced with a difficult decision between therapy that may lead to side effects and active surveillance of their condition. Research efforts therefore have centered on reducing the impact of treatment on quality of life.

The standard therapy involves treating the whole prostate, either with radiotherapy or surgery. Both cause damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and can lead to substantial side effects, such as urinary incontinence requiring one or more pads a day, erections insufficient for sexual intercourse and rectal problems such as diarrhea, bleeding and pain.

Men who undergo traditional treatment have a 50% chance of achieving the so-called trifecta status of no urine leak, good erections and cancer control at 12 months after surgery or radiotherapy. In this study, the researchers showed that after focal therapy men have a 90% chance of achieving the trifecta outcome at 12 months.

The researchers used MRI and mapping biopsies to pinpoint the exact location of the cancer lesions, something that is not possible with standard diagnostic tests (transrectal biopsy).

The researchers then targeted these areas with the HIFU device. HIFU focuses high frequency sound waves onto an area the size of a grain of rice. The sound waves cause the tissue to vibrate and heat to about 80 degrees, killing the cells in the target area. The procedure is performed in hospital under general anesthetic, and most patients are home within 24 hours. Read the full publication here

So, if your worry ever since has been how to deal with the side effects of prostate cancer. The result from this clinical trial is sure to allay your fears. The best results would be for those whose prostate cancer is still localized. Early detection is therefore is important to make the most this treatment.

Thus, if you think you will have prostate cancer in the future, then you should go for early tests or diagnosis. With the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, there is a high chance that cancerous cells in the prostate would be destroyed with minimal damages to surrounding tissues.

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