Prostate Cancer and High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a prostate cancer treatment that targets, heats, and kills prostate cancer cells using the energy of highly concentrated ultrasound. HIFU is a non-invasive (no incisions) outpatient procedure that does not destroy healthy tissue, unlike radiation and surgery.
How Does It Work?
You already know how HIFU works if you’ve ever used a magnifying glass to reflect the sun’s rays and create a little fire or burn a hole in a leaf. HIFU, on the other hand, employs sound waves that a doctor directs through the wall of your rectum, which is the lower part of your large intestine. The waves will be directed at your cancer cells.
The sound waves can reach temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees Fahrenheit) and can kill cancer cells in a matter of seconds. Doctors employ MRI and ultrasound imaging to determine the exact location of the tumor and where the sound waves should be directed.
HIFU prostate cancer treatment
The medical therapy known as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) employs ultrasound waves to treat prostate cancer.
Ultrasound offers a wide range of applications in medicine, including imaging during pregnancy. In HIFU, ultrasonic waves are created at a higher intensity and in a highly focused form, which is typically harmless. HIFU uses numerous ultrasound beams to focus on the exact tissue area within the prostate that requires therapy, similar to how a magnifying glass focuses light on a target. The ultrasound’s highly focused energy raises the temperature of the tissue, causing the heat to destroy (ablate) the targeted tissue area. The ultrasonic rays can pass through layers of tissue without harming them until they reach their destination.
How often is prostate cancer and what is the prostate?
In men, the prostate is a reproductive gland. It’s in the lowest part of the gut, in front of the rectum. It’s about the size of a walnut and produces semen-forming fluid.
In the United States, prostate cancer is very common among men. Prostate cancer affects one out of every five males.
What are some of the benefits of HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound)?
The following are some of the benefits of high-intensity focused ultrasound:
It does not require any surgical incisions into the body and does not involve radiation.
It has the ability to precisely target sick tissue while leaving healthy tissue undamaged.
It’s a simple outpatient treatment with a quick recovery. In most cases, you can return to work or normal life within 24 hours.
When compared to surgery or radiation therapy, it lowers the risk of urine incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Is HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) a patient-friendly therapeutic option?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved high-intensity focused ultrasound for use in about 50 nations, including the United States. The treatment has been utilized to treat prostate cancer in over 65,000 individuals outside of the United States.
Who can benefit from high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for the ablation (destruction) of prostate tissue. Urologists disagree about who the greatest candidates for HIFU are.
HIFU can be used to
For people with early-stage prostate cancer, as an alternative to monitoring (no therapy).
For cancers that are small and confined to a specific location (localized) of the prostate, as an alternative to or as a follow-up to radiation, surgery, or other failed treatments.
What happens during the HIFU operation (high-intensity focused ultrasound)?
An ultrasound probe the size of your index finger is introduced into your rectum during high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) while you are unconscious under anesthetic. The probe is positioned up to your prostate’s level. The prostate is found directly behind the rectum wall.
The probe’s imaging transducer scans your prostate to build a three-dimensional digital map of the entire prostate and the area to be treated. The computer is then used by your urologist to view and plan your precise treatment strategy. The treatment strategy is then carried out, with targeted ultrasound waves destroying the tissue that has been identified. At a moment, each focused beam of radiation destroys tissue the size of a rice grain. The procedure is repeated until all unhealthy tissue has been eradicated. Following the therapy session, imaging (ultrasound or MRI) evaluates the treatment’s outcome.
Depending on the size of the treatment region, the procedure takes an average of two hours to complete.
Treatment can be directed at
particular locations of prostate cancer (whole prostate HIFU) the entire prostate (whole prostate HIFU) (focal HIFU)
You can normally leave the same day as your HIFU treatment.
Before you begin your treatment
Before therapy, you may have an MRI scan and tissue samples from your prostate extracted (biopsy). This information is used by doctors to plan your treatment.
On the day of treatment
An enema is used to clear your bowels. A liquid-filled pouch with a nozzle is inserted into your backchannel as an enema (anus).
6 hours before the surgery, you must refrain from eating and drinking.
A cannula (small tube) is inserted into a vein at the back of your hand. General anesthesia is frequently used.
Having your treatment
Through the opening at the end of your penis, your surgeon inserts a small tube into your bladder. Your pee is drained through the tube. A urinary catheter is what it’s called.
An ultrasound probe is inserted into your back canal by your surgeon (rectum). This device emits high-intensity ultrasound, which can kill cancerous cells in the prostate. The high-intensity ultrasound travels to the prostate through the backchannel.
The probe also functions as an ultrasound, producing a visual image on a screen. This will show your surgeon where they should focus their efforts. To treat all of the cancer cells, they move the HIFU probe around.
The HIFU treatment for the whole prostate takes about 3 hours. It takes 1 to 2 hours to apply HIFU to a smaller region.
Following your treatment,
You can generally go home the same day after you’ve recovered from the anesthesia.
A catheter may be used to drain urine for up to a week. If you have a catheter, your nurse will show you how to care for it at home. They’ll make the necessary arrangements to get it removed.
What are the risks or adverse effects of using high-intensity focused ultrasound?
Even while high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is associated with fewer adverse effects than radiation or chemotherapy, it is not without risks and problems. These are some of them:
Erectile dysfunction, ejaculation issues, and sexual impotence are all symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Urine tract infections, incontinence, frequency, burning sensation, and urinary retention are all symptoms of urinary tract infections.
The probe caused rectal wall damage, incontinence, burning, and bleeding.
Infection of the prostate.
Prostate cancer has returned.
HIFU and clinical trials to consider.
HIFU is a relatively recent treatment. It is not accessible at all hospitals.
As part of a clinical trial, your doctor may offer you HIFU treatment.
HIFU for prostate cancer has been demonstrated to be safe in studies. However, additional research is needed to see if it is as effective as other treatments and to learn about its potential negative effects.