CHARLOTTE – Dr. Samuel Peretsman remembers a time not too long ago when men diagnosed with prostate cancer had to travel to Mexico or Europe to get a treatment known as High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU.
Peretsman, who works at Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, has been performing the outpatient technique for about 12 years now. He said HIFU doesn’t involve surgery or radiation, allowing for a speedy recovery.
The non-invasive technique focuses ultrasound waves to heat and destroy small tumors in the prostate without damaging the rest of the prostate.
HIFU may be the best treatment option for younger men who want to retain their quality of life without the side effects of surgery, cryotherapy or radiation, Peretsman said. Side effects of traditional forms of prostate cancer treatment may include bowel and urinary dysfunction, as well as sexual impotence.
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer (following skin cancer), according to the American Cancer Society. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system.
ACS predicts 161,360 new cases and 26,730 deaths in 2017.
Dan Zenka, senior vice president for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, writes that the number one myth of prostate cancer is that it’s an old man’s disease. While thought to be a disease that affects men later in life, there have been more frequent accounts of men getting diagnosed with the disease in their 40s.
HIFU Prostate Services announced a partnership with Urology Specialists of the Carolinas in December 2015 to make the procedure more available locally. Peretsman was named medical director of the partnership.
Peretsman said the most common question he receives from patients about HIFU is whether it’s appropriate for their particular prostate cancer. Screening and education helps Peretsman determine that answer.
But it may not always be the best treatment for everyone.
Peretsman compares treating prostate cancer to finding the appropriate tool from the kit to fix the problem.