April 18, 2012
Ultrasound Treatment Offers ‘Perfect Outcome’ To Prostate Cancer Patients
There´s been another win in the battle against cancer: A new treatment for prostate cancer has been found to not only be highly effective, but to work without debilitating side effects as well.
The new treatment works by heating and killing only the tumor with a high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This treatment should allow men to only be subjected to an overnight stay in the hospital without any troubling side effects.
A new study of the procedure has shown 9 out of 10 patients have been reported as cancer free with no side effects, something the study calls the “perfect outcome.”
According to Rebecca Smith of The Telegraph, experts are calling these outcomes “very encouraging," saying it will bring about a “paradigm” shift in the treatment of diseases.
Next week, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will report their findings in new guidance, saying the new treatment is safe and effective and will call for larger scale trials to begin.
In fact, some trials have already begun, and experts say any man interested in the treatment should contact their doctors.
The treatment can carefully select even small tumors, as small as a grain of rice. Once targeted, the HIFU heats the tumors and destroys them.
As fewer tissues are subjected to the treatment or damaged, the likelihood of side effects are lessened.
A study published in the journal Lancet Oncology tracked 41 men treated with HIFU. A year after their treatment, none of the patients were incontinent and only one in ten suffered impotence, common side effects of other prostate cancer treatments. The majority of these 41 patients, a whopping 95%, were cancer free after 12 months.
Dr. Hashim Ahmed, who led the study at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London, said: “This changes the paradigm. By focusing just on the areas of cancer we reduce the collateral damage to surrounding tissue.”
“This study provides the proof-of-concept we need to develop a much larger trial to look at whether focal therapy is as effective as the current standard treatment in protecting the health of the men treated for prostate cancer in the medium and long term.”
Dr. Hashim told the Telegraph once the guidance is issued next week, he expects even more doctors to begin using the treatment.
Professor Gillies McKenna, director of the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, said: “Clinical trials, like this one supported by the MRC, are a fantastic tool for telling us whether experimental new treatments are likely to be effective in the clinic.”
It´s not just doctors who are thrilled with the results.
One of the patients involved in the trial is 72 year-old Robert Page from Croydon, London. According to BBC News, Page said he had his treatment two years ago, and it´s been a success.
"The outcome was very good," he said. "I was very pleased with the treatment and very happy with the lack of side-effects, particularly when I contrast that with what might have been the case if I'd had one of the other, alternative, treatments."