Reasons Choose HIFU over Surgery for Prostate Cancer

With the prostate cancer prognosis, the average age when men are diagnosed is 66. The risk of prostate cancer is 74 percent higher for black men than white men. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S.

The HIFU Procedure

HIFU is a new treatment that uses sound waves instead of light rays through the wall of your rectum. The doctor directs the waves to your cancer cells. When sound waves are used, the temperatures can get as high as 90 F and has the ability to destroy cancer cells within a few seconds. MRI and ultrasound imaging are used to pinpoint the exact location of where the tumor is and where to point the sound waves. While HIFU is quite new in the United States, it has been accessible in Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world for over 15 years.

The Pros of HIFU Therapy

  • There Is Less Pain and Downtime: HIFU usually lasts about an hour and is an outpatient procedure. You usually will not need pain medications because it is not as invasive as the other treatment methods.
  • The Side Effects Are Reduced: Most men are under the assumption that they will no longer be able to have an erection following a prostate cancer treatment. Men who undergo the HIFU treatment have a decreased chance of developing erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence.
  • You Can Still Try Other Options: If the HIFU treatment is not sufficient and the cancer returns, then your doctor can suggest other options such as surgery. There are treatment options such as radiation therapy that cannot be done multiple times since there is a heightened risk of adverse side effects.

What to Expect during the Procedure

Prior to the procedure, you will receive an enema to clear out your bowels and ensure they are empty. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for six hours prior to the treatment. The staff will administer anesthesia to numb the pain and the doctor will insert a catheter to capture the urine during the procedure. An ultrasound probe is placed into your rectum which may have one or two crystals inside. The sound waves from the crystal will bounce back to a computer to create a photo of the prostate gland. A crystal transmits sound waves through the rectal wall into the gland.