The following Patient Perspective is from a man who was treated in HIFU in March 2020. He wished to remain anonymous but felt it was important to share what he went through in case it would help other people going through what he did. To speak with him or any other past HIFU patient, please call 1-877-884-4438 and speak with a HIFU specialist who will be more than happy to connect you.
I want to share my journey with prostate cancer and the procedure I decided on which was HIFU. First, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2020. My PSA was 6.2 – Clinical Stage was T2a Gleeson score was 4+3 =7. Eleven of 12 needle biopsy cores were positive. NCCN Risk Category was Intermediate. Bone scan and MRI for cancer spread were negative. I am 61 years old, 6′ 2″, 240 lbs, and a very active triathlete. Having set the picture, I could write a book on the last 3 months from a mental and physical standpoint but I want to describe what my decision was so as to help anyone who is about to go through what I did and be available to discuss in detail any subject that may be of interest.
So, in the beginning, I did a tremendous amount of research on prostate cancer, having not even known what a PSA was and never had one before December 2019. I was under physician care on a regular basis due to having a stroke in 2011 and thyroid cancer in 2012. I had blood tests every 6 months and bi-annual doctor visits.
After I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, people close to me wanted me to undergo the standard treatment and have a prostatectomy. I even scheduled the surgery but kept up the research into alternatives. I looked into a Tulsa pro and had contacted Dr. Scionti in Sarasota as well as considered options in Europe. Sarasota was not a good experience and Europe was becoming a difficult choice due to the Covid-19 situation. My urologist (who came highly recommended) who was to perform the robotic surgery, was very nonchalant about the prospect of preserving the nerves surrounding the prostate and was not too concerned about the traditional side-effects that we all know of. He also told me to stay away from, “those HIFU guys.”
That did not sit very well with me.
I finally found a group called HIFU Prostate Services headquartered in Charlotte, NC. I first called and spoke with Angela Collins, RDMS. Angela discussed the procedure and input my information. The staff at HIFU Prostate Services was first class from top to bottom. They paired me up with one of their many physicians across the country, Dr. Paul Arnold in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. Dr. Arnold has been doing HIFU for about ten years which was before it was even FDA approved. He trained and performed the procedure outside the country before it was approved for use in the US. Thus, Dr. Arnold is one of the most knowledgeable HIFU physicians and is also a proctor physician helping to train other doctors on the Sonablate HIFU machine.
I was scheduled with Dr. Arnold very quickly and both my wife and I went as we had done with several doctors when consulting for for surgery and radiation therapy. We immediately formed a bond with Dr. Arnold and his very knowledgeable assistant, Clayton. It also didn’t hurt that I found out that I had been competing against Dr. Arnold or Paul Arnold as I had known him as a competitor in my Triathlon division for the past ten years (he normally won the division and I was way down the list).
During my first visit, Dr. Arnold had the nurse measure my prostate to make sure it was under the size requirement of 40 ml. It came in just under that at 37 but he still suggested that I have what is called a TURP which is where he would go in a cutaway a portion of the prostate and reduce the size. I had that scheduled for the next week. I was placed under anesthesia and had a catheter for 5 days.
The HIFU procedure was scheduled for April 16th but again due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the procedure was moved up to March 27th. The procedure lasts about 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of your gland. After a short period of recovery, you can then return home. I had some pain and discomfort the day of the procedure but not bad at all and I was just so glad to have the phase over with. I had to have another catheter for 5 days. I did not have to take any pain medicine and only a prescription for a high dose of anti-inflammatory. I am two weeks post-procedure and now I must wait another 6 weeks to have my PSA tested again and I am hoping that it will be somewhere between 0 and 1. By the way, I started training for my next triathlon yesterday, Easter Sunday with my wife.
I worked with HIFU Prostate Services to set up the procedure and a contract was signed for the $25,000 and we wired the money HPS who then disbursed the funds to the appropriate locations to pay the doctor, facility, device, etc. You only cut one check so to speak. A representative from HIFU Prostate Services called me directly on several occasions to discuss the contract, procedure and answer all of my questions. In fact, everyone I spoke with at HPS was very understanding and was a pleasure to deal with during a very trying time. I highly recommend that you at least have a conversation with HIFU Prostate Services.
The cost of the procedure was $25,000 and I think it is important to say that I did not have $25,000 to pay for this but the point being that if you feel it is the right thing to do you find the money somehow.
Again, the purpose of this was to give an outline of my journey and decision-making process over the past three and a half months and to offer my assistance to anyone with questions or to be a sounding board as you go through the difficult mental and physical stresses of this prostate cancer obstacle in life. Cancer is unique in that we as patients have to make decisions about something we initially know nothing about, for our care. That takes a mental tole on top of the cancer itself. Each of us is very different in our circumstances and personal lives and one of the most important things I learned is to do the research, learn as much as you can, leave no stone unturned and do the right thing for you.
Several men who chose HIFU have agreed to be HIFU Ambassadors and would be happy to speak with you about your own diagnosis with prostate cancer as you make a treatment decision. To speak with one, please call 1-877-884-4438 and speak with a HIFU specialist who will be more than happy to connect you.