Thanks to advances in modern medicine, prostate cancer is no longer a death sentence. Surgery, radiation therapy and hormone therapy are traditionally used for the treatment of this disease. In recent years, many new treatment methods for prostate cancer have emerged, and HIFU therapy is one of them.
- What is the essence of HIFU therapy?
- Benefits of HIFU therapy
- Indications for HIFU therapy
- How is the procedure carried out?
- Side effects
- Where can I undergo HIFU therapy?
- Costs for HIFU therapy in different countries
- How can I undergo treatment abroad?
What is the essence of HIFU therapy?
HIFU therapy (high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation) refers to methods of local tumor destruction. The essence of this treatment method is the influence on the tissue of the prostate gland with high-intensity focused ultrasound. The high intensity of ultrasound waves causes tissue heating up to 85-100°C and, consequently leads to destruction of the tumor.
HIFU therapy for prostate cancer is performed using special devices, which focus ultrasound waves in the targeted area. Thermal energy is generated exclusively in the center of ultrasonic wave concentration. Adjacent healthy tissue remains intact.
Benefits of HIFU therapy
HIFU therapy is a new treatment method. This procedure has been carried out since the early 2000s. As of today, HIFU therapy is very popular and is successfully carried out in many countries.
High-intensity focused ultrasound ablation has the following advantages:
- High efficiency. With the help of HIFU therapy, oncourologists manage to achieve complete necrosis of the prostate tumor without damaging the surrounding tissues.
- Low invasiveness. HIFU therapy is performed without incisions and is not accompanied by blood loss.
- Minimal risk of side effects. The risk of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction is reduced practically to zero.
- Short hospitalization period. There is no need for special care and long-term rehabilitation after the procedure, the patient can leave the hospital the next day.
- The possibility of applying HIFU therapy in combination with other treatment methods.
- The possibility of carrying out repeated sessions of HIFU therapy.
Indications for HIFU therapy
It is important to understand that HIFU therapy remains an alternative treatment as of today. In other words, the patients with prostate cancer are primarily offered the conventional treatment methods, such as prostatectomy or radiation therapy. If the conventional treatment cannot be carried out for any reason, then HIFU therapy is considered.
HIFU therapy is indicated in the following cases:
- Therapy of choice for prostate cancer (T1-T2) at the initial stages
- Presence of contraindications to the conventional treatment methods (severe concomitant diseases, age over 70 years, etc.)
- Recurrent prostate cancer after surgery or radiation therapy
HIFU therapy can only be performed in small prostate sizes. For prostate with 40 cc volume, transurethral resection (TUR) or laser enucleation is performed initially for reduction of the gland’s size.
How is the procedure carried out?
HIFU therapy is performed under spinal anesthesia. First of all, urinary catheter is inserted. The catheter is required as the prostate swells strongly after treatment and thereby compresses the urethra. Consequently, urination is impeded.
Then the doctors perform the treatment procedure. The man is asked to lie on his side. A special device is inserted into the rectum. It combines an ultrasound scanner and an ultrasonic emitter. Imaging of the prostate and treatment planning are carried out. The urologist will gradually move the device for the treatment of the entire prostate tumor by means of high-intensity ultrasound. The HIFU treatment lasts 2-3 hours on average.
After the procedure completion, the patient is moved to the general room. Here he stays until the action of anesthesia finishes. The patient is discharged from the hospital the next day. In a week, the patient must return to the hospital for removing the urinary catheter.
HIFU therapy is a minimally invasive procedure. It is much easier for men to tolerate it compared to surgery or radiation therapy. However, after HIFU therapy, the following negative consequences can still arise:
- Pain in the perineum
- Blood in the urine
- Temporary problems with erection
- Temporary urinary incontinence
- Urinary infections
As a rule, these negative consequences disappear within a couple of weeks or months.
Where can I undergo HIFU therapy?
HIFU therapy is an innovative treatment method for prostate cancer. It should be noted that HIFU therapy is not widespread in the CIS yet. Therefore, patients who need such treatment have to go abroad.
In particular, HIFU therapy is carried out in the following countries:
Many patients with prostate cancer choose the Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany. According to the Focus magazine, this medical facility ranks among five best German hospitals. The specialists of the Department of Urology at the Heidelberg Hospital offer patients advanced treatment methods for prostate cancer. In particular, HIFU therapy has been successfully carried out here since 2008.
Costs for HIFU therapy in different countries
How can I undergo treatment abroad?
The medical tourism operator Booking Health will help organize diagnostics and treatment abroad. We will select a foreign hospital, which demonstrates the best results in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Booking Health offers the following services:
- Communication with the selected clinic
- Translation of medical documents
- Registration of visa and health insurance
- Provision of the most favorable prices for medical program by avoiding additional coefficients for foreign patients
- Accompaniment by an interpreter
- Booking airline tickets and hotel, transfer from the airport and back
Booking Health ensures treatment in the best hospitals for patients from all over the world. You just need to leave a request on the website and our employee will contact you as soon as possible to clarify the peculiarities of the trip.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova