Those with prostate cancer may benefit from a treatment called HIFU, or high-intensity focused ultrasound. During this type of treatment, high-frequency sound waves are used to target cancer cells. The heat created by the waves damages ordestroys the cancer cells. Read the frequently asked questions below to learn more about this prostate cancer remedy.
Where Is HIFU Available and How Long Has It Been Done?
HIFU is an authorized treatment in the United States and has FDA approval in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas. The procedure was first researched in the United States almost 50 years ago and was introduced as a prostate cancer treatment in the 90s. In 2001, Dr. George Suarez, a Miami-based urologist became the first American urologist to perform HIFU in countries where it was approved. In 2004, Dr. Suarez founded USHIFU, currently Sonacare medical, and he initiated FDA clinical trials, which received approval in 2015. This was the first and only FDA-approved medical device to treat prostate cancer. That is because all other devices had grandfather approval prior to the FDA taking sanctions of medical devices.
Does This Treatment Require Multiple Procedures?
Typically, the answer is no. HIFU treatment is a one-time procedure that can last for between one and three hours, depending on the size of the prostate. Patients are discharged from the medical facility as soon as they have recovered from the anesthesia, which is about one hour after the procedure. Most importantly, the procedure can be repeated, if needed. Additionally, HIFU does not prevent patients from obtaining other treatments if they choose to do so.
Is Just the Tumor Targeted During the Procedure?
It can be challenging to pinpoint the precise location of the tumor within the prostate. Because of this, HIFU is designed to target the whole prostate gland. During the procedure, the entire prostate gland will be ablated or destroyed. This also lowers the risk of cancer coming back again. However, in select cases, HIFU also offers focal therapy, hemi-ablation and targeted therapy. Particularly, in cases where an MRI image is fused with the HIFU treatment plan.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Amazingly, HIFU treatment has a same-day recovery period. As mentioned before, the procedure typically lasts between one and four hours. Likewise, recovery time is usually within hours of the procedure. After that time, the patient is free to go homeand continue his normal, everyday activities. That is right, there is no down time for the patient.
What Are the Ideal Candidate Qualifications?
Similar to other prostate cancer remedies, there is not an ideal candidate. However, the recommended optimal treatment should be catered to the specifics of the individual patient. Prostate cancer should neverbe ignored.The treatment is most effective for people with early-stage cancer. This is when the cancer is localized to just the prostate. Before making any decisions, discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to see if HIFU is right for you.The best recommendation to all patients is to empower themselves with knowledge about their diagnosis, treatment options, and optimal best outcome with regards to quality of life and lifestyle.