Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, behind skin cancer. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with this disease during his lifetime. Here at the University of Miami Miller School, we conducted the first U.S. clinical cohort study with 50 patients using the Ablatherm Robotic HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) system for treatment of early stage prostate cancer. The results were very promising, and the study is on going as we continue to enroll patients.
For decades men suffering from prostate cancer have had two primary choices for treatment – radiation therapy or radical surgery to remove the entire prostate – both of which cause life-altering side effects of impotence or incontinence. HIFU, the result of advances in ultrasound technology, is a noninvasive procedure that directs high-frequency sound waves to ablate prostate tissue, with a low risk of the side effects associated with traditional treatments.
Study Confirms HIFU’s Safety, Efficacy and Benefits for Patients’ Quality of Life
Preliminary results of the study demonstrated promising oncological short-term outcomes, even in clinically significant prostate cancer.
All patients who participated had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer, cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland, and were eligible for focal HIFU therapy.
As noted, the treatment options before HIFU – radiation or surgery – caused significant physical side effects, and the only other possibility took an emotional toll. Doctors sometimes would employ what was known as “watchful waiting,” or “active surveillance.” For patients diagnosed with a low-risk disease, this “wait-and-see” option involved urologists monitoring the patient over time, since prostate cancer is slow growing. Though medically valid, it was stressful for patients with active cancer and many ultimately preferred more aggressive treatment options despite the side effects.