High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, also known as HiFU, is a minimally invasive procedure that is becoming increasingly popular to treat prostate cancer, due to its’ success rate, as well as its’ low rate of complications. Of course, only you and your doctor can decide what treatment is best for you, however, the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HiFU) should be included in your decision.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, and affects approximately a quarter of a million men every year. It is usually a slow growing cancer that, when detected early, and has not spread outside of the prostate, has a very good chance of successful treatment.
The prostate is a walnut shaped gland that produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Often, in the early stages of prostate cancer, you may not have any signs or symptoms of prostate cancer, so regular exams and prostate cancer screenings, are an important part of early detection, which effects your treatment and prognosis.
Prostate cancer in a more advanced stage may cause the following symptoms:
- Problems urinating
- A decreased force of urination
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your semen
- Pain in your bones or pelvic area
- Unexplained swelling in your legs
If your doctor suspects that you are at risk of developing prostate cancer, he will likely perform a digital rectal exam, as well as a prostate specific antigen test, also known as a PSA test. If either of these tests is positive, you doctor will likely want to perform an ultrasound on you, as well as a prostate tissue biopsy. The biopsy will be evaluated using t scale known as the Gleason score. Once your cancer is staged, your treatment options will be presented to you, and once you and your doctor has determined the best treatment options available to you, you will begin your road to recovery.
Your treatment may include many different options, which will range from “waiting and seeing” to surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy and hormone therapy are often used, as is surgery to remove the prostate. Freezing tissue to kill cancer cells, as well as using heat, in HiFU treatments are often part of your cancer treatments, too.
High Intensity focused ultrasound treatments are actually done by inserting a small probe into your rectum, allowing your doctor to deliver ultrasound energy, precisely to the cancer cells in your prostate. It is a minimally invasive alternative treatment that should be discussed with your doctor. This treatment is still being studied in clinical trials, but shows much promise.
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/1920725?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/1920725">HIFU Animation</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user822594">Keith Schilling</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>