Just like many other types of ailments that you might deal with in your lifetime, prostate cancer also has many options when it comes to the treatments that you have available to you. Prostate cancer affects many men in the United States and because of the rise of cases that are documented, the treatments are getting more attention and based on side effects, some of them can be better for you than the traditional chemotherapy. Options like cryotherapy and Greenlight Laser therapy are newer, as well as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment as for those men that are affected by prostate issues including cancer. HIFU is a medical procedure that is exact and uses heat to destroy the diseased parts of the prostate gland that might be affected by a growing tumor. HIFU is considered a hyperthermia therapy, which is a category of treatments that uses heat on the affected areas of the body.
The HIFU procedure has been approved for use in many countries throughout the world including China, United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and more. HIFU can be used to treat many types of cancer including those that affect the brain, liver, bone and prostate. The overall process can be quite simple compared to other cancer treatments. Basically, the HIFU uses an acoustic wave that is moved through the affected tissue inside the body. Part of it is absorbed at that time and converted into heat. Because the ultrasound beams can be concentrated and focused into small areas, the sounds can be sent deep inside the body to treat issues hard to get at without major surgery. The process is very accurate to the millimeter and because tissue damage comes from the heat and how long it is applied to the area that is being worked on.
Doctors will use the term “thermal dose” to indicate how long the heat is applied to the tissue that is being worked on. Doctors can also scan the tissue with the converted heat, covering a certain volume of tissue that can be ablated as a result. HIFU ablation can be enhanced by a process called cavitation. Cavitation is the forming of microbubbles that interact with the ultrasound field. During this process, the microbubbles grow and can implode at some point sending a shock wave out damaging tissues. If this part of the process occurs, it can be unpredictable and that is why doctors are typically watching to make sure it does not happen. The cavitation process is being studied to see if it is way to effectively enhance the HIFU process and to possibly use it for other applications. Because things like prostate cancer are a smaller part of the body, having the focused ultrasound does help during the process.
HIFU therapy focuses on killing the diseased tissues inside the body without hopefully affecting other tissue that is nearby. Because the process uses heat to kill the tissue, there is the possibility that liquids can boil in the process, but the process is typically monitored closely to ensure that does not happen. Depending on the person and case, the doctor will outline the procedure allowing you to know exactly what is happening inside your body. After examining you the doctor will be designing the treatment based on that and can actually cover a wider area with one treatment if needed by moving the robotic arm in order to make more than one focused shot. Because the treatment treats the tissue inside the body non-invasively, HIFU has also been categorized “Non-invasive HIFU surgery”. Because of that, anesthesia is not a requirement, but it might be recommended by your doctor. This type of therapy can also be used in conjunction with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
The HIFU procedure is very simple in operation, but complicated inside the body, but it is being used as an option for those that do not want to use chemotherapy as a treatment for prostate cancer. During the procedure when being used on the prostate, the entire prostate is ablated, including the urethra. The urethra is going to grow back because it is built from different tissue that was not killed during the process.