Previous articles have highlighted the importance of quality training for doctors that offer the HIFU procedure to men with prostate cancer, but it is equally important to highlight quality training and experience for the entire HIFU treatment team who work alongside the treating HIFU physician.
The treating physician is only one part of the HIFU treatment team when a man has HIFU for prostate cancer. In addition to the doctor, the treatment team includes
- an anesthesiologist and
- other support staff.
One of the most important members of the HIFU treatment team is the nurse. Patients will work closely with a registered nurse, both before and after the procedure. The nurse will be the patient’s main point of contact and should be trained appropriately to help HIFU patient navigate treatment and recovery. As men explore HIFU as a treatment option, they could ask a nurse the following questions to understand their training and HIFU experience:
- How long have you been working with HIFU patients?
- How many patients have you worked with?
- What type of HIFU training have you undergone?
- Where did you receive your training?
- How often do you talk to HIFU patients?
- How many different HIFU doctors do you work with (or have you worked with in the past)?
When a HIFU procedure is done, a trained HIFU technician should be present in order to make sure that the HIFU device is set up and serviced properly. The technician remains present during the entire procedure to assist the physician and make any technical adjustment as needed. These technicians are responsible for keeping the HIFU equipment running smoothly and helping the physician if they have questions about the equipment.
Although the anesthesia required for HIFU is similar to many other treatments, the more HIFU procedures an anesthesiologist has been a part of, the more familiar he becomes with the best way to monitor and administer anesthesia for HIFU.
Patients shouldn’t be afraid to ask their doctor or HIFU nurse about the experience of the entire HIFU treatment team that will be involved in their HIFU treatment. Working with an experienced team is key to successful HIFU prostate cancer treatment.