This article launches a new series of articles that will appear on the blog highlighting the unique benefits of HIFU for prostate cancer. You can find all the articles in the #HIFUbenefits series here!
After receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer and agreeing with your doctor to begin treatments, most men would assume that the next step would be surgery and/or radiation. But, there is a new player in the prostate cancer arena: HIFU.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is a treatment for prostate cancer that is in its early stages here in the United States, having just been approved for use in the US in October 2015 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other countries have been using this technology for 10-15 years, and the research for HIFU has been around for much longer.
HIFU uses an ultrasound-guided transducer, or beam of focused heat, to ablate, or destroy, the cancerous tissue. This method is completely radiation-free and has significantly lower risk of side effects than radiation therapy.
Traditionally, radiation treatments for prostate cancer are used to kill the cancer cells, thereby killing all of the genetic material that causes it to multiply. Radiation treatments are often done in combination with other treatments, depending on the stage of your cancer and any other symptoms you may be having. Side effects are common, as healthy cells are killed right alongside of the cancer cells. Side effects are varied, but can range from incontinence, abdominal cramping, to sexual dysfunction.
Many men, frustrated with the side effects that come along with traditional avenues for treating prostate cancer, have much to be excited about in the Sonablate HIFU treatment device.
The Sonablate is a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment device that delivers HIFU energy to the tumor, while keeping the surrounding tissue healthy. The physician is able to make adjustments during the treatment, which allows him/her to keep the energy focused exactly where it needs to be. Sonablate can ablate a small area of the prostate (focal gland ablation), half, or the entire prostate (whole gland ablation) without a single incision.
One major benefit of Sonablate HIFU is that patients are able to return right back to their normal lives following treatment. Men are often able to go out to dinner the night after the procedure and return to most activities a few days later.
Another benefit of HIFU is that it uses clean energy. It can be used repeatedly without causing damage to surrounding tissue and organs. Because it is “clean” (non-ionizing), it will not prevent you from pursuing other treatment in the future, or even more HIFU, should you need it.
Sonablate is a game-changer in the field of prostate cancer, allowing men a much easier recovery from prostate cancer treatments. By using HIFU, doctors can destroy the cancer without destroying a man’s quality of life.