Patients with localized prostate cancer, where the tumor is still confined to the organ and has not spread to other areas of the body, may choose HIFU therapy for cancer ablation. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is a minimally invasive, radiation-free, outpatient procedure where precise ultrasound waves target and destroy the effected prostate tissue by heating it to 195-degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 seconds, leaving the healthy area around the target unharmed.
Of course, no cancer treatment procedure is without its side effects, especially those that are still in the early stages of development. After a HIFU procedure, patients may experience frequent and/or urgent urination, mild discomfort, or discharge. The possibility of difficult urination requires patients to wear a catheter following treatment for about one to two weeks while the prostate adjusts. Patients should cut back on drinking caffeinated beverages post procedure, which may result in burning during urination. Rectal burning and bleeding is another common side effect after multiple HIFU therapy sessions.
Temporary and Permanent Side Effects of HIFU
Some side effects can be regulated with exercise, such as urinary leakage or incontinence during certain physical exertion, while other side effects may be permanent, such as internal ejaculation when a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is performed along with HIFU therapy. During a TURP procedure, the part of the prostate that is removed may cause the ejaculate to end up in the bladder instead of the penisi.
According to recent studies, other potential side effects may include urinary stricture, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and rectal fistulaii. However, according to the International HIFU organization, each of the various High Intensity Focused Ultrasound procedures yielded the following resultsiii:
|Standard HIFU Procedure
||Focal HIFU Therapy
92% of patients are successfully treated.
Over 99% of men remain continent.
70% of men retain erectile function.
95% of patients maintained potency.
89% of men achieved “the trifecta status” (pad-free, leak-free continence, erections sufficient for intercourse and cancer control at 12 months).
71% biochemical disease free rate.
93% of patients remain continent.