“Soundwaves could help 95% of prostate cancer patients … without affecting sex life,” . Its story comes from a small study that looked at an experimental treatment using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to target areas of prostate cancer in men where the disease had not spread.
Standard treatments for prostate cancer often lead to undesirable side effects, in particular erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Researchers found that a year after this experimental treatment, 89% of men still had erectile function and all were still continent. Ninety-five per cent of the men showed no evidence of disease on an MRI scan.
The results of this small study look promising. Men with early (localised) prostate cancer that has not spread can often live for years without developing life-threatening symptoms, and are often faced with a difficult decision about whether or not to have conventional treatment, which can have side effects. A treatment that can target areas of cancer without damaging healthy tissue might enable more men to have treatment for prostate cancer at an early stage.
HIFU Procedure Preparation : The HIFU device is made up of 2 modules – the control module which allows the physician to plan and supervise the computerized system and the patient treatment module.
The control model contains a robotic endorectal probe which is guided by the computerized system. The probe is mounted on a mobile support with robotic movements that enable the computerized device to automatically and precisely move the probe during treatment to treat the targeted areas of the prostate.
The ultrasound generator and integrated scanning equipment are on the end of the probe. A spinal anesthetic with intravenous sedation is administered before treatment begins. The patient will lie down on his right hand side for the duration of the treatment process. The robotic probe is covered with a degassed liquid filled balloon. The probe is then lubricated and inserted via the anus into the rectum. The probe is positioned near the prostate so the ultrasound treatment can begin.
HIFU Treatment Procedure : Once the treatment plan is complete, the shooting phase of the treatment can begin. The prostate can be treated in a single pass with the lesion height range from 19mm to 26mm (anterior-posterior distance). 400 to 800 adjacent lesions are required to cover the entire prostate volume.
The tissue in the targeted zones is destroyed with intense, very fast, highly localized heat. Each ultrasound shot is oval shaped, measuring up to 26mm high by 2mm or less in diameter. The process continues until all of the targeted areas are treated. Depending on the volume of the prostate, the treatment can last 2 to 2 ½ hours.
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