For a man, one of the most dreaded phrases you can hear is “You have prostate cancer.” This is especially true for American men, as it is the second leading killer among all cancers. Traditionally, prostate cancer treatment has been restricted to surgery (complete removal of the gland) or radiation therapy, both of which can be effective and even life-saving.
Unfortunately, traditional prostate cancer treatments not only affect the entire prostate gland and cancer cells in it but also cause other side effects on adjacent organs. These side effects lead to the troublesome trio of side effects that all men worry about when it comes to prostate cancer treatment:
- Urinary incontinence (urine leakage after surgery) or bladder irritation (after radiation)
- Leftover cancer cells or lesions
- Adverse effects on sexual function (weakening or loss of erections)
For these and other reasons, many men seeking prostate cancer treatment are looking for alternative procedures that are as effective as the traditional options, if not more, but with fewer negative effects. Moreover, patients want alternative options that do not compromise the cancer treatment and require less recovery and downtime.
At Comprehensive Urology, the premier Los Angeles prostate cancer center, in addition to traditional options, we are proud to offer high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as a cutting-edge alternative treatment method. HIFU can offer a chance of cure while maintaining potency and urinary control in select patients. Although HIFU treatment has several advantages over traditional treatments, you and your doctor should discuss your condition as well as all options so you can make an informed decision about the best treatment for you.
In order to provide as much information as possible regarding your options, please read the following to learn about several advantages that HIFU has over traditional prostate cancer treatments.
The Top Advantages of HIFU Treatment
Minimally Invasive Procedure
The ultrasound technology behind HIFU is the latest in prostate cancer treatment. The innovative technology uses precise ultrasonic energy to target and kill only cancerous lesions in the prostate. All safety margins are acknowledged and the ultrasound waves precisely target all surgeon-defined targets without damaging surrounding tissue.
With traditional invasive prostate cancer treatment methods, which are inherently invasive, the entire gland is removed or irradiated. Furthermore, surgery removes both healthy gland tissue and surrounding tissue while radiation affects the whole gland and surrounding tissue.
Reduced Recovery Period
HIFU treatment causes only minimal cell damage to the prostate as a whole, and, because it is a minimally invasive treatment, also causes no blood loss or other similar trauma. This allows you to get back to your normal schedule within a few days of HIFU treatment with no radiation or surgical side effects.
With traditional treatment methods, which are typically invasive, recovery times are different (i.e., more extensive). Surgery causes longer recovery and healing times and radiation treatment usually requires several radiation sessions, therefore, recovery is often ongoing and extensive as well.
Decreased Risk of Sexual Impotency
Due to the minimal invasiveness of HIFU treatment, the chances of experiencing impotence or erectile dysfunction are reduced. For men still virile into their 50s and beyond, this is a very important consideration.
On the other hand, treatments such as radiation therapy or hormone therapy, while often successful in treating cancer of the prostate, can affect your sex life by interfering with your ability to get and maintain an erection.
More Bladder Control
Because HIFU treatment uses precise ultrasound technology in order to focus on the diseased cells, incontinence issues are greatly reduced. Many men report minimal or even no urine leakage and greater bladder control following the procedure.
Traditional treatment methods, such as surgery and radiation, often cause incontinence or bowel disorders as side effects.
A Quick Procedure
HIFU treatment is normally a single-session outpatient procedure that lasts about two hours. There is no need for a hospital stay and there should be no reason why you can’t be home the same day. However, be aware that this does depend on the size of your prostate as well as the stage of cancer growth.
Surgery, on the other hand, is more complicated and usually takes 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the gland and the extent of the cancer.
Fewer Side Effects
In addition to reduced risks of both incontinence and sexual dysfunction, other side effects from HIFU treatment are normally mild or minimal. You will suffer no loss of blood and no radiation, incisions, bandages, scars, or a hospital stay.
While it’s true that you most likely will have to live with an inserted catheter for several days after the procedure, you should suffer no issues with bladder control. The catheter is only used on a temporary basis.
In a nutshell, HIFU is a state of the art prostate cancer treatment with numerous benefits over traditional prostate cancer surgery:
- Minimally invasive treatment option for localized prostate cancer.
- Benefits: no cutting or radiation, single outpatient procedure, no or minimal risk of sexual dysfunction or urine leakage, short recovery usually within few days.
The Key to Any Effective Cancer Is Early Detection
Regardless of which prostate cancer treatment you and your urologist decide is right for you, early prostate cancer detection is crucial to your recovery and, in some cases, survival.
Once any cancer is detected, then an extensive consultation with your doctor to learn your options will be necessary. If the benefits of HIFU treatment can work for you, then it might be the best choice for you.
Learn More about High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Therapy
To find out more about whether or not HIFU treatment is the best choice for you, contact the prostate cancer specialists at Comprehensive Urology in Beverly Hills. Contact us online to schedule a consultation or simply call us at 310.499.2756.
Next, read our blog, 4 Everyday Incontinence Issues Solved by Urolift Procedures.