DFW Gets New Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Focal One HIFU Robotic System | Image by Focal One

A North Texas hospital now boasts a breakthrough treatment for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, offering them results without having to go under the knife.

High-Intensity Frequency Ultrasound (HIFU) is an emerging treatment option for malignant tissues that has fewer side effects compared to more conventional approaches to cancer, such as invasive surgeries or chemotherapy. HIFU, which has been used at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas since 2016, will now be available at Texas Health Southwest, reported KERA News.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men, behind lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. While one in eight men will develop the disease during their lives, it will lead to death in roughly one in 44 cases. Being obese can increase the risk of fatality, as the hormonal and metabolic changes and high levels of cholesterol and inflammation associated with carrying excess weight can lead to a person acquiring a more aggressive form of cancer.

To treat prostate cancer, the complete surgical removal of the prostate — a radical prostatectomy — is the go-to procedure, followed by radiation therapy. However, both treatments have serious risks of side effects that can impact a man’s ability to urinate and cause erectile dysfunction.

HIFU is minimally invasive and uses ultrasonic waves and heat energy emitted by a wand to break up cancerous tissue while the patient is under anesthesia.

“We can pinpoint the energy of the ultrasound to specific parts of the prostate, thereby avoiding many of the major side effects and the quality of impact that the traditional treatments cause for our patients,” Dr. Parth Shah of Texas Health Southwest told KERA News. “We use real-time intraoperative ultrasound to determine the depth of tissue penetration of the energy, and where to focus the energy. So, it’s a real-time image-guided treatment of prostate cancer cell.”

As Shah explained, some men may have problems with urination following the surgery, but this usually clears up in a few days. He said the procedure’s most uncomfortable part is using a catheter, which remains in place for a few days afterward.

He nevertheless said that HIFU is less painful than other therapies and can be a good option for “middle-risk” prostate cancer patients for whom “active surveillance” is not advised.

Since the progression of prostate cancer tends to be very slow, many men put off treatment, often for years. Shaw said that as many as 60% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will be on active surveillance for about five years before undergoing treatment.

As reported by The Dallas Express, research has found that the elderly face considerable risks in surgery, as people tend to grow more frail as they age. This mortality risk must be weighed against the benefits of a given procedure.

While HIFU offers an alternative therapy to those who are eligible, Shah stressed the importance of catching prostate cancer early through regular checkups.

“This new technology is great, but I think we should focus on prevention and early detection, so we can ensure that men are not dying because of prostate cancer, which is what we’ve seen over the past five or ten years. Less and less focus has been paid on prostate cancer screening,” Shah said.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men over the age of 55 consider being screened for prostate cancer, particularly for men who have a history of prostate cancer in their families.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article