An overview of Focused Ultrasound and how HIFU treats different kinds of cancer.
World Cancer Day, later this week on February 4th, focuses on how people as a whole can work together to combat cancer, eliminating the burden it puts on the people of the world. Whether you are personally diagnosed with cancer, have a loved one battling cancer, or just know someone with cancer, the disease affects a great deal of people.
Although cancer has been around for more than 5,000 years, we are still trying to find ways to treat and cure this disease. In the past few years, focused ultrasounds have been tested and approved to treat a multitude of cancer types.
Focused ultrasounds are a recent FDA-approved cancer treatment option that is non-invasive and radiation free. Using real-time imaging, physicians guide a focused ray of energy to destroy the targeted cancerous tissue.
According to the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, over half of ultrasound treatments to date have been used for prostate cancer. Because of the ranges in severity associated with prostate cancer, focused ultrasounds can be beneficial as a treatment because one treatment is normally all a patient needs and recovery is generally short with minimal complications. For those patients who are not cured after their first treatment, focused ultrasounds can be repeated in addition to other forms of treatment.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women with a multitude of treatment options. Although there are already many treatment options, focused ultrasounds seek to offer a non-invasive, real-time imaging method that comes with minimal complications, little to no scar tissue and limited chances of breast deformation, and a truncated recovery period. Focused ultrasounds, when used to treat breast cancer, are associated with some drawbacks because there is no true removal of the tissue so no further tests may be done to determine whether other precautions should be taken and the physician cannot authenticate absolute removal of the tumor.
In the United States, lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths for both men and women. With such a record, it should come as no surprise that focused ultrasound pre-clinical trials are currently underway. If initial studies hold true, focused ultrasounds could provide a more targeted approach to eliminating tumors without harming the surrounding non-cancerous tissue.
The world is focused on a cure for cancer, but in the meantime focused ultrasounds are one treatment that is being extensively explored. Hopefully, in the future, there will be no need for a world cancer day because the world will be free from this disease.