HIFU for prostate cancer

The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer patients is over 98 percent, but men often face challenges after treatment. Standard radiation therapy can result in bowel and urinary problems, as well as erectile dysfunction. Now, one recently approved treatment can help men avoid the unpleasant side effects, and is actually less invasive than the biopsy procedure used for diagnosis!

Sixty-two-year-old Bill Pelick was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in December 2016.

“So I didn’t have really the option to just wait it out," he said.

With the clock ticking, Bill weighed his treatment options.

“I didn’t want to have any incontinence problems. I didn’t want to be going to the store having to buy diapers and things like that,” he explained.

Bill's urologist, Doctor Jack Cassell, had the answer---HIFU, or high intensity focused ultrasound.

“It’s kind of like having a magnifying glass and shining sunlight onto a piece of paper and basically it’s not hot near the lens, but when you get to the focal point that’s where you get about an 80 degree centigrade temperature,” explained Jack Cassell, MD, Urologic Oncologist at Urology of Mount Dora.

He said, the ultrasound beam goes through the rectal wall killing the targeted prostate tissue, without damaging other structures.

Doctor Cassell continued, “So there is almost no impotence involved with this procedure because you’re seeing where the nerves are and you’re staying away from them.”

“Because of the very little side effects, you know, sexual function, you still … you still have that,” Bill said.

A year later, he's glad he chose the HIFU procedure.

Although HIFU has been used in other countries since the 1990’s for the treatment of prostate cancer, it has only been FDA-approved in the U.S. for about two years. With no recovery time, patients can be back to their normal schedule the very next day.


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