Tags: ultrasound | third way | procedure | prostate cancer

Ultrasound Procedure Treats Prostate Cancer

Friday, 17 Jul 2009 09:26 AM


British doctors have developed a “third way” ultrasound procedure for prostate cancer that takes a middle road between radical treatment and watchful waiting. The procedure, which uses ultrasound to “melt” tumors, is said to be just as effective as radiotherapy or surgery, but has a lower risk of causing incontinence, impotence, diarrhea, bleeding, and other side effects.

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is the name of the new technique, and men treated with HIFU can be released from the hospital within several hours instead of several days, which is typical with surgery. HIFU kills cancer cells by heating them to temperatures from 176 degrees to 194 degrees, which researchers at University College Hospital say can be tolerated by surrounding healthy tissue and also by nerves involved in sexual function.

In the initial group of 172 men who took part in the trial, 159 were free of cancer one year later. This rate of cure is virtually the same as the cure rate following surgery and radiotherapy for early prostate cancer. The big difference between HIFU, surgery, and radiotherapy according to the findings of the study lies in improvement in side effects.

Out of the 172 HIFU patients, only one became incontinent, none had bowel problems, and impotence was at a much reduced rate of 30 to 40 percent. The usual rate for incontinence following surgery and radiotherapy is between 5 and 20 percent, and the impotence rate is usually 50 percent. When men are treated with radiotherapy, they can also expect bleeding and diarrhea.

Lead researcher Dr. Hashim Ahmed said, “Men are being diagnosed earlier with prostate cancer because of increasing awareness with many patients in their fifties and sixties now. It means we are treating them more successfully, but the side effects are a big issue. Having to wear pads because of incontinence is not very nice and neither is sexual dysfunction as a lot of these patients are still sexually active. This study suggests it’s possible HIFU may one day play a role in treating men with early prostate cancer with fewer side effects.”

According to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control, 185,895 men in the United States developed prostate cancer in 2005, and 28,905 died from it. Statistics show that one in six men will develop it at some point in their lifetime.



© HealthDay

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British doctors have developed a “third way” ultrasound procedure for prostate cancer that takes a middle road between radical treatment and watchful waiting. The procedure, which uses ultrasound to “melt” tumors, is said to be just as effective as radiotherapy or surgery, but has a lower risk of ca
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