Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

GAME GHANGE: High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

with 2 comments

2012 has turned out to be the year of the Game Change.  We already have Immunotherapy and Arbiraterone getting everyone excited.  Now, HIFU joins the cohort of Game Changers.  Has anyone used this – or know of its use?

If you have cancer that appears confined to the prostate gland and should your prostate be of suitable size (<50g), HIFU therapy is a possible treatment option as an alternative to the standard therapies of radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy either by external beam or brachytherapy.

(SOURCE) | Sydney Prostate Cancer Centre

  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) works by generating small areas of energy about the size of a grain of rice. The release of this energy within the prostate causes the tissue to heat up. This change in temperature destroys the prostate cells and any cancerous cells in the area. The small treatment areas can be very carefully located within the prostate, thereby avoiding the delicate organs that lie next to the prostate gland.
  • Reports have shown that HIFU therapy was effective at controlling prostate cancer in 80% to 95% of men treated up to five years after the patient received the treatment. Studies have shown that HIFU therapy is at least as safe as other treatments for early prostate cancer and may have fewer side effects in terms of incontinence, impotence, blood loss and damage to the bowel and bladder. HIFU actually treats lower urinary tract symptoms.  HIFU is
  • Most men will be able to have their treatment and go home the next morning. Occasionally, it is possible to leave two to three hours later, provided there is someone else at home and suitable transport can be arranged. there will be the need for an overnight stay.
  • In general urinary incontinence is not a big problem with HIFU. Studies show that few if any men had incontinence requiring pads, though 5% of men may experience dribbling of urine that was not considered troublesome. HIFU does require a catheter for up to 10 days after the therapy. This can cause its own problems of infection, blockage, bleeding. This will occur in about 10% of men. Some men will not be able to pass water once the catheter has been removed. Should this occur a new catheter will be placed and removal planned a week later.
  • All prostate cancer treatments affect men’s ability to get and maintain erections. HIFU appears to be less detrimental to erectile function compared to other treatments. In the studies reviewed, between 45% and 70% of men reported preservation of erections sufficient for penetration.
  • There is no evidence that HIFU can lead to the spread of a tumour.
  • HIFU reminds me of the old joke, Q: “How to you skin a tiger without cutting him open”  A: “Ram a red hot poker up its bum and he will jump out of his mouth leaving the skin intact”

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Written by Greg Naylor

16 July 2012 at 12:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. I’m currently on a hunt for a focused ultrasound solution for emergency use in the United States for a single patient with bladder cancer who has no alternative options. I need help, I’m trying to navigate a way to get it done. If you can help spread the word, please look on my site for focused ultrasound posts.

  2. HIFU is a safe solution which does not involve any surgery and a long time to recover of several months. This latest therapy to treat uterine fibroids ensures for no radiation, no scar and no anaesthesia. HIFU appears to be less detrimental to erectile function compared to other treatments.

    hifu therapy

    28 November 2012 at 9:30 pm

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