HealthWatch: HIFU Zaps Prostate Cancer

Health Watch

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Until now, the standard treatment for prostate cancer patients was surgical removal or radiation of the entire prostate. For the past few years, high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU has been an option for some patients. But now, a newly- designed device is allowing doctors to treat patients with targeted therapy, in real time.
Jeff Nelson suspected he’d get prostate cancer, since his brother, uncle, and two cousins had it. But when he was diagnosed, he chose the newest technology that treats only the cancer, no healthy tissue.
“If it wasn’t for the catheter, I swear, walking out of that hospital that day, I felt pretty much normal,” Jeff Nelson said.
Edward Uchio, MD, FACS, CP, Jerry D. Choate Chair in Urologic Oncology, Director of Clinical Research, Department of Urology at the University of California, Irvine is pioneering the use of the Focal One high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU. It was appropriate for Nelson because his cancer was detected early and localized to one area of the prostate.
“Because we knew that it could be one side, just one area of the prostate, we can actually treat focally just in that area,” Dr. Uchio explained.
First, Dr. Uchio uses a specialized MRI system that gives him a 3D image of the cancer. He uses that to precisely target the treatment area.
“You can actually focus the ultrasound waves and heat up the cancer and actually kill the cancer within the prostate,” Dr. Uchio said.
Nelson’s PSA level dropped from seven-point-three to six-point-one after the procedure, and he’s hoping it goes even lower. He’s telling his friends about HIFU and urging them to get checked.
Nelson said, “If you address it early, you can go through a simple procedure like I’ve gone through. And it’s nothing!”
And nothing is what he hopes Dr. Uchio finds when he returns for a checkup biopsy in a few months.
Dr. Uchio emphasizes that HIFU is for localized cancers that aren’t aggressive. He did the first HIFU procedure in the United States with the Focal One device. He says the technology is too new to assess long-term results. It was only FDA approved last year. Recurrence is possible, but patients would most likely be able to avoid a radical treatment.
Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Dave Harrison, Editor.

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REPORT: MB #4598

BACKGROUND: The prostate is a gland in men that helps with the nourishing and transporting of sperm. The prostate does this with the seminal fluid that it produces. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that men can be diagnosed with. Most prostate cancer grows very slowly and only in the prostate. When men get this type of prostate cancer it may need little or sometimes no treatment at all. However, there are other types that can be very aggressive and spread quickly. Catching the cancer early while it is still only in the prostate gland gives patients the best chance for a successful treatment.

SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS: At times prostate cancer can be very hard to catch in its early stages since it may show no signs or symptoms that early. When the cancer is more advanced and aggressive you can expect symptoms such as trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in semen, discomfort in pelvic area, bone pain, and erectile dysfunction. Even though the exact cause of prostate cancer is still yet to be determined there are factors that can increase a patient’s risk of getting it. Those factors include age, race, family history, and obesity. Patients should see their doctor if they are experiencing any of the symptoms.

FOCAL ONE AND HIFU: Edward Uchio, MD, FACS, CP, Jerry D. Choate Chair in Urologic Oncology, Director of Clinical Research, Department of Urology at the University of California, Irvine explains how a new system called Focal One helps with treating prostate cancer. “This Focal One system is the newest way of treating focally this area of cancer. It uses a technology called HIFU, which is high intensity focused ultrasound, where you can focus ultrasound waves and heat up the cancer and actually kill the cancer within the prostate. This is the newest system meant only for focal therapy. He said that this treatment doesn’t involve any needles and is easy on patients, “They go home the same day and they can go back to their regular activities immediately. Some people require catheters because the prostate may swell depending on how big the cancer is within the prostate. And a catheter is just a tube that helps them drain their urine. The majority of people can go without a catheter and they go home. They have very minimal side effects and minimal pain after treatment.”
(Source: Edward Uchio, MD, FACS, CP)


                                   Sandy Rodriguez

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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